By Lisa Rowlands

Sitting a little above the neighbouring AVAs with elevations starting at around three-hundred metres, Potter Valley enjoys a distinct microclimate characterised by a significant diurnal temperature range. Warm sunshine during the day is replaced by cool nights, which subsequently extend the growing season allowing the fruit here to develop complex flavours whilst retaining natural acidity. The soils of the region - typically alluvial, and the geography - the AVA sits in a bowl surrounded by high peaks, create a unique terroir, quite distinct from its more famous neighbour, Redwood Valley AVA.

Today, the Potter Valley AVA has around seven-hundred hectares under vine. In addition to the signature white grapes of the appellation which often produce fresh, earthy wines, growers here also cultivate red varieties, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. The conditions - being conducive to the development of Botrytis Cinerea - also enable the production of sweet wines from Sémillon and the afore mentioned whites, although this is fairly uncommon.

Potter Valley is a little known AVA, home to traditional grape growers intent on drawing the very best out of their fruit. In contrast to the tasting rooms and tourist trails of some of the larger appellations, Potter Valley is a largely agricultural area with few actual wineries and most of the grapes grown here used to produce wine in Napa or Sonoma.