Napa Valley, and Sonoma get all the attention in California. But, did you know that the Central Coast AVA (American Viticultural Area) is the largest in the state? This massive coastal appellation stretches about 250 miles from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. The appellation was granted based on the shared cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean. There are over 360 wineries covering more than 100,000 acres under vine. Many of these wineries rank among the smallest boutique wineries to the some of California’s biggest players.
Inside this large AVA, are a number of smaller, more specific areas. Each has its’ own special features, climate soil, and grape varieties. Some are well known, and others…not so much. I thought it would be fun to take a look at the areas that make up the Central Coast. I broke down the areas within the broader Central Coast AVA from north to south.
|Concannon Winery - Livermore Valley|
The small Santa Cruz Mountains AVA was established as one of the first mountain based AVAs in 1981. It includes the following sub-regions: Skyline, Saratoga/Los Gatos, Summit, the Coastal Foothills, Ben Lomond Mountain AVA, and Corralitos/Pleasant Valley.
|Hahn Estate - Santa Lucia Highlands|
|Calera - Mt. Harlan|
Paso Robles AVA is the largest area within the Central Coast, at over 600,000 acres. It has approximately 26,000 acres under vine. Rather than recapping here, you can check out my previous blog on Paso Robles.
Arroyo Grande Valley AVA is a16 mile long appellation (42,880 acres) It benefits from it east-northeast orientation which allows the breeze from the Pacific Ocean to moderate the climate of the area. This is one of the coolest growing regions in California, and has gained a reputation for the old vine Zinfandel dating back to 1880, at Saucelito Canyon Winery.
|Santa Maria Valley|
|Grassini Vineyards - Happy Canyon|
|Fiddlestix Vineyard - Sta. Rita Hills|