Alexander Valley Vineyards is located at Highway 128 in Northern Sonoma County and is about six miles from Healdsburg, California. The vineyards are approximately a two hour drive from Sacramento International Airport via CA-128 E. The tasting room is open daily from 10am to 5pm except on major holidays, and tours are available by appointment.
The origins of the vineyards go back to 1962 when Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley's nineteenth century namesake. The Wetzels started to plant premium grape varieties and subsequently built a small winery. The vineyard's first wine was produced in 1975 and they quickly earned a reputation for estate grown wines, producing acclaimed Chardonnay and luscious Cabernet Sauvignon and becoming a leading winery in Sonoma County.
The Wetzel Family Estate grows fourteen grape varieties, each matched to a specific soil type and exposure. They now produce 100,000 cases annually, 17 varietal wines and proprietary blends, 75 percent of which is red wine. The quality of the wine produced here has won the Alexander Valley Vineyards many awards including Best of Show at both the Atlanta International Wine Competition and the Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition, Best Red Wine at the Eastern International Wine Competition and the Florida State Fair and Best Bordeaux Blend at the California State Fair.
Visitors are welcome to pop in to the tasting room at Alexander Valley Vineyards, where they can try wines not available anywhere else. The wine is also taken on the road with staff from the vineyard visiting various places to provide talks at events, wine tasting sessions and winemaker dinners. Several events are held at the vineyard throughout the year, so to make a reservation or get tickets, members of the public need to contact staff here.
Outside the tasting room visitors will see a set of huge double doors, which intriguingly leads to a cave. There is approximately 25,000 square feet of underground storage here holding around 7,000 French and American oak barrels of aging wine. The barrels are bought from more than a dozen different cooperages, and about a quarter of them are replaced each year.
There is an opportunity to join the Wine Club here which will offer the chance to have bottles of wine delivered direct to the member's home at discounted prices. In spring a day of food and wine pairing is organized for all Wine Club members. A party is also organized for harvest when members can enjoy the blessing of the grapes, a barbecue, bocce ball and music in the oak grove.
There are a couple of other wineries worth visiting within just a few miles of this one in Healdsburg, including Lancaster Estate Winery in Chalk Hill Road and Simi Winery in Healdsburg Avenue. Should visitors feel hungry after their trip there is Divine Pizza about six miles away in Dry Creek Road and Scopa at Plaza Street, both still in Healdsburg.