Alexander Valley Vineyards
After purchasing the historic Cyrus Alexander homestead, Harry and Maggie Wetzel strived to create a thriving agricultural lifestyle on the property. They raised their children along with their vines in Alexander Valley, providing inspiration and encouragement as they developed the estate together. Decades later, the fourth generation of their family is growing up amongst vineyards and next door to the working winery that is known around the world as “AVV”.
The six hundred acre property was the homestead of valley namesake Cyrus Alexander. When he rode into the valley in 1840 he called it the "brightest and best spot in the world". He chose this spot to build his home and raise his family, and many years later the Wetzel Family would do the same. This wine is a tribute to the man, the region and the very best of the vintage.
In 1995 Hank Wetzel produced the first vintage of CYRUS and today winemaker Kevin Hall carries on the tradition with the 17th release of CYRUS. He has selected seven distinctive lots of estate Bordeaux grapes for this vintage; three lots of Cabernet Sauvignon with exceptional dark fruit flavors, complex aromas and structured tannins, two lots of Merlot with juicy fruit and floral aromatics, and one lot each of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec for finesse & depth, inky color, bright acidity and depth.
The Wetzel Family Estate now spans over 700 acres, straddling Highway 128 with vineyards on both sides of the Russian River to the west and bordered by the Mayacamas mountains to the east. In between there is a wide range of microclimates, elevations, exposures and soil types. Most importantly, there is water.
Premium vineyards were virtually unknown in the Alexander Valley in the 1960s. Unencumbered by local tradition, the Wetzel’s were pioneers, planting classic grape varieties and implementing innovative vineyard techniques.
There is no shortcut to consistent quality. At AVV they match grape varieties to microclimates and soil profiles, planting specific rootstocks and clones. They use drip irrigation to deliver the right amount of water to the vines and trellising to control canopy management. This progressive approach has kept AVV a leader in vineyard development over the last 50 years.
Harry Wetzel, IV grew up with the family business and the office outside his back door. He is one of the third generations working at the family owned winery. Like his father, he attended UC Davis where he graduated with a degree in Enology and Viticulture. “For me, being part of a family business means continuing the traditions my grandfather and father started at the winery and in the community,” Harry says. “It’s also a matter of preserving the integrity of the Wetzel family name. It’s a lot to live up to given the work the rest of my family has done, but I see it as a fun challenge.” As Assistant Winemaker, one of Harry’s principal duties is to work with growers so that AVV has the perfect fruit. “It’s all about making the right decisions, from producing the highest quality wine that we can to volunteering in our community.”