vineyard from a hill

Knights Valley: Sonoma County's Secret Garden

Sonoma County is the birthplace of California’s commercial wine industry, stretching back into the 19th century. In fact, cuttings from the vineyards of the Sonoma Mission were used to start new vineyards throughout Northern California. The Knights Valley appellation is one of 18 different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) within Sonoma County, reflecting the breadth and variety of the County’s wine industry.

History of Knights Valley

Knights Valley is named for Thomas Knight, a participant in the Bear Flag Revolt. Knight purchased a large portion of the valley that would bear his name in 1853, building a rancho named Muristood at which he planted vineyards as well as peaches, apples, and wheat.

Eventually, the town of Kellogg became established in the valley, with a post office, general store, and schools. By the early 20th century, growing wine grapes constituted the bulk of the town’s economy.

Prohibition devastated the local economy and Kellogg faded into disrepair. Wildfires in the mid-1960s destroyed whatever remained of the town and Knights Valley seemed destined to become a historical footnote. However, in the 1970s, the burgeoning wine business in the Napa Valley, situated directly to the east of Knights Valley, inspired local landowners to rebuild the wine industry. By 1983, vineyards filled the valley and the Knights Valley AVA became one of the original five sub-appellations of the Sonoma County AVA.

Knights Valley AVA Today

The Knights Valley AVA is one of the most unique wine-growing regions in Northern California. While the valley’s wine industry has recovered from its 20th-century demise, it has done so without rebuilding the town of Kellogg. Unlike much of the rest of the North Bay’s commercial wine industry, Knights Valley wineries don’t have the sort of tourist amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and winery visitor centers. But Knights Valley does have 2,000 acres of vineyards that produce some of the finest wine grapes in the North Bay.

The easternmost sub-region of the Sonoma County AVA, Knights Valley sits at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains, with the volcanic Mount Saint Helena looming over the valley. A climate of warm afternoons followed by cool evenings thanks to the coastal air coming in through the Russian River watershed makes Knights Valley well-suited for growing a number of varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon is the best known and most highly regarded product of the Knights Valley AVA but the appellation also produces Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Syrah.

Allen Wines Knights Link

A gold winner at the 12th Annual Sommelier Challenge, the Allen Wines' Knights Link Cabernet Sauvignon has been described by Virginie Boone as “a lightly textured, full-bodied wine, overt and generous in tannin and oak. Dried herb, cedar, and clove provide a savory landscape against which cherry, cassis, and currant can play with ease.”

Allen Wines King Arthur

Allen Wines' King Arthur Pinot Noir is a beautiful, elegant, single-vineyard designate Pinot, crafted as a single varietal in a Burgundian style. What makes this Pinot so unique? The amazing property in Knights Valley had the rare, perfect conditions to make a truly amazing Pinot Noir at such a reasonable price point. The Knights Valley is a unique area for Pinot Noir, and we are very proud of what we achieved with this first vintage. We seek to bring you unique vineyards that have something special to offer, and the King Arthur Vineyard designate fulfills this aim.

cabernet sauvignon
pinot noir
knights valley
sonoma county