Walter Anderson lends the valley his name by settling his family near what is now Boonville.
History Of Anderson Valley
The valley’s winegrowing fate changed just a few years later. Pinot Noir had long been judged unsuitable to California: it ripened too much in warm interior valleys, and not enough in coastal appellations. Then French scientists unleashed a new wave of Pinot Noir clones that ripen reliably in cool climates, especially those with hot days and cold nights – just like Anderson Valley.
The 1980s were also the beginning of America’s love affair with fine wine. The romance turned red during the 1990s, sparking massive plantings of red wine varieties throughout California. American Pinot Noir found ardent fans among connoisseurs of French Burgundy (which is just Pinot Noir with a geographic name). The new clones poured into Anderson Valley, pulling in grape buyers from other regions as well as new wine entrepreneurs and highly skilled, internationally-minded winemakers. Sparkling wine also arrived in force, giving the rustic valley a new sophistication.
With world-class fruit, facilities and winemaking all established in the new century, Anderson Valley rapidly rose to join California’s other top wine Valleys. Yet it did so without losing its soul. The delicious white wines and historic heirloom Pinot Noir varieties are still here. Sheep and orchards still grace the landscape. Vineyards and wineries of all sizes nestle together, surrounded by redwood and oak trees. The hillsides still glow green and gold in the sun. Great wine is now as characteristic of Anderson Valley as the scent of the sea on foggy mornings.
Italian immigrants arrive and plant vineyards.
First bonded winery (according to legend).
Beginning of commercial winegrowing.
Edmeades and Husch wineries founded; plantings mostly Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay.
Husch plants the Knoll Vineyard in 1971. Navarro Vineyards, Lazy Creek Vineyard and Greenwood Ridge Vineyard founded; Pinot Noir gains a toehold.
1981 Scharffenberger Cellars, 1983 Handley Cellars, 1984 Navarro Vineyards, and 1988 Roederer Estate sparkling wines were released, primarily from Chardonnay (and some Pinot Noir). Handley was the first from AV grapes.
Petition for American Viticultural Area (AVA) status lists 6 wineries, 16 vineyards, and 582 acres under vine.
Wineries and winemakers outside the valley discover its great fruit and low prices.
Inaugural Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival.
Quality revolution driven by new planting and replanting by trained viticulturists, more sophistication among internationally-minded winemakers.
Inaugural International Alsace Varietals Festival (now Winter White Wine Festival).
First comprehensive tasting of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir includes 43 wines from 30 producers.
More than 2000 acres are now under vine.
AVWA membership reaches 22 vineyards and 54 producers.