Rockpile is the latest American Viticultural Area to be approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The 15,400-acre appellation, located in the coastal mountains of northwest Sonoma County, is home to 11 vineyards with a total of 160 acres of grapes.
Rockpile is an old name for the area; there was a Rock Pile Ranch in the late 1800s, and the main road is now named Rockpile. Zinfandel and Petite Sirah are among the main grapes grown in the area, and wineries that use Rockpile grapes include Rosenblum Cellars and Fritz Winery.
Some 2,500 acres of Rockpile overlap the northwest corner of Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley AVA. The Rockpile region, which ranges in elevation from 800 feet to 1,900 feet and abuts Lake Sonoma, is generally above the fog line, which means summer temperatures are slightly warmer than those in Dry Creek Valley.
Rockpile will officially become the 12th AVA in Sonoma County and the 86th in California on April 29.