As the hyphen implies, Fort Ross-Seaview is named after two regional features. Fort Ross recalls the 1812 Russian-built fort (and the vines established on its site in 1817) and honors the area’s Russian heritage. Seaview refers to the community by that name that sits high on the steep coastal ridges (more inland) and is also a tribute to Seaview Road—one of the greatest scenic routes in California—which runs the length of the American Viticultural Area (AVA) and offers spectacular views of the Pacific Coast.
Situated on the edge of the vast Sonoma Coast appellation, the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA is defined as much by its elevation and proximity to the Pacific Ocean as it is by its land boundaries: AVA statutes limit plantings to land 920 to 1,800 feet above sea level or higher. At that altitude, the terrain gets quite rugged. Out of 27,500 available acres (43 square miles), a mere 555 are usable. While these conditions present extra challenges, the elevation, mountainous terrain, and proximity to the Pacific Ocean offer the perfect mix of sunshine, cool air, and beneficial stress for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to thrive.