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.

Ferns thrive within the damp ravines hidden in the forests of the Seaview Estate.



Total Acreage

27,500 acres

Required Vineyard Elevations

920 to 1,800 feet above sea level


Wide variety of soil types, most derived from sedimentary rocks and deposits, leading to well-drained soils. Hugo soils—very gravelly loams derived from sandstone and shale—are quite common. Other soils include Boomer, a clay loam subsoil; Laughlin, a sandy clay subsoil; and Yorkville, moderately well-drained clay loam with
a clay subsoil.


Steep, mountainous terrain made up of canyons, narrow valleys, ridges, and 800- to 1,800-foot peaks.

Growing Climate

In areas generally above 900 feet in elevation, the climate is influenced by longer periods of sunlight and is warmer than that of the surrounding land below. The prevalence of marine fog below the 900-foot elevation line causes the surrounding, lower areas to be cooler and to have a shorter growing season.

Ma Dansuese basks in the summer sun—a couple of the blocks are shown in the foreground, with the northern part of the vineyard appearing in the distance.