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. With an eye to their neighbors in nearby Napa Valley, the Wetzels boldly planted premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. Then the family built a small winery.
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.
Alexander Valley Vineyards produces 100,000 cases annually, 17 varietal wines and proprietary blends. Seventy-five percent of AVV’s production is red wine. Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon constitute over one-third of total production. Other varietals include Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc.
Cyrus, a limited production, proprietary red wine, named in honor of the pioneer Cyrus Alexander, is AVV’s benchmark, honoring the past while signaling the future. Hank Wetzel explains, “Cyrus is a statement, our ultimate achievement. With this wine, we express our history, tradition, and excellence.”
Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Unusually fragrant and quite fine, the well-balanced 2006 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet serves up pretty, red fruit flavors, remains firm and lasting on the palate and smooth on the finish.
Alexander Valley Zinfandel Sin Zin 2006
Varietally distinct, this Zinfandel captures the true essence of Alexander Valley. The fruit is sourced from a variety of vineyards with differing microclimates. This provides winemaker Kevin Hall with an array of unique parcels of fruit. Once vinified, these parcels are blended together and then allowed to mature in French and American oak for 10 months.