History, Tradition, Excellence
Alexander Valley Vineyards is located on Highway 128 in northern Sonoma County, 75 miles north of San Francisco, 6 miles from the sleepy town of Healdsburg and 16 miles from Calistoga in the Napa Valley.
Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley was mostly prune orchards and pastures when, in 1962, Maggie and Harry Wetzel purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s nineteenth century namesake. Here, in a rural community of family farms and ranches, the Wetzel family settled. They raised livestock, cultivated bountiful gardens and restored Alexander’s original home, making it the center of family life.
In 1963 the Wetzels boldly planted premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. They sold the grapes for a number of years to other wineries and often produced a little homemade wine in the adobe as a family project. They bottled their first vintage of Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon in 1968, but this wine was only given to friends and family.
In 1975 the family built a small winery and Hank Wetzel, oldest son of Maggie and Harry, produced Alexander Valley Vineyard’s first wine in 1975. His wife Linda set up the books and managed the winery office.
AVV quickly established a reputation for estate grown wines with distinctive varietal character. Acclaimed for crisp Chardonnay and luscious Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Vineyards brought recognition to the appellation and became a leading winery in Sonoma County.
Linda & Hank Wetzel
Today the Alexander Valley is a prominent appellation known worldwide as the source of elegant, age worthy wines. As the twenty-first century begins, the Wetzel Family Estate grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics.
Barrel fermentation and aging take place in the cave, where the cool, constant temperature and high humidity are ideal for aging wine. Winemaker Kevin Hall explains, "Inside the cave the ambient temperature varies only 5°F from summer to winter, from 63° to 58°. AVV's cave reaches deep into a hillside adjacent to the winery, for a total of 25,000 square feet.
2016 marks the family’s 54th year on the historic property and the winery’s 41st anniversary.
The 3rd generation of the Wetzel Family is now active in the winery and continues the family tradition at AVV. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot constitute over one-half of total production. Other varietals include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Proprietary wines include CYRUS, our limited production Bordeaux style blend, Gewurz, and our trio of Zins: Temptation Zinfandel, Redemption Zinfandel and Sin Zin, our voluptuous Alexander Valley Zinfandel.