The McDowell Valley AVA in southeastern Mendocino County in Northern California. It obtained AVA status in 1987. It is a high-sloping bench land that sits up to 1,000 feet above sea level. Overlooking the Russian River to the west, the valley covers only 540 acres. The region is slightly cooler than surrounding areas. The McDowell Valley specializes in Rhone red varietals like Grenache and Syrah, plus Zinfandel, some coming from century-old vineyards. White Rhone varietals like Marsanne and Viognier complement the roster of big flavourful reds.