- Slides: 66
Chapter 10 California © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Objectives • At the end of this lesson you should be able to – discuss the history of winemaking in California. – describe the various wine regions of California and the types of wine that they produce. – describe California’s role in the American wine industry. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Introduction • California is unquestionably the most important wineproducing region in North America. • Containing more than 350, 000 acres of wine grape vineyards and more than 840 wineries, it produces more than 90 percent of the wine in America. • California is known for both its mild Mediterranean climate that is characterized by wet winters followed by warm, dry summers. • In addition to being the most populous state in the union, it also has one of the highest per capita consumption of wine. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Introduction (continued) • The development of winemaking in California reflects a melting pot of cultures. • European immigrants from different countries with diverse methods of viticulture and winemaking brought their knowledge and experience to the industry. • These Old World techniques flourished and were adapted in new ways that were suited to the conditions in California. • This blend of cultures began in the 1800 s and continues to this day with large multinational wine companies investing in California. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
California Wine—Historical Perspective The Mission Period • Winemaking came to California with the Spanish missionaries led by a Franciscan friar, Father Junipero Serra. • Eventually 21 missions were established up the coast of California. • Wine was essential to the new settlers who used it for sacramental purposes as well as for a beverage. • The friars imported vinifera cuttings to grow their own grapes to make wine. • The first vintage was in San Juan Capistrano in 1882. – Eventually grapes were planted at all but two of the missions with the climates of San Francisco and Santa Cruz being considered too cold and foggy to ripen grapes. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Mission Period • The variety grown by the friars was the Mission grape. – Mission is a red grape that is a prolific producer and adapts to a number of growing conditions. – The friars used it to make a variety of wine styles, including white, red, dessert, and brandy. • In 1823 the last mission was established in the town of Sonoma, north of San Francisco Bay. • In 1833, the now independent Mexican government ordered the secularization of the mission properties, and the missions and their lands went from church to government control. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Commercialization • California’s first large-scale commercial vintner was Jean-Luis Vignes in Los Angeles. – From Bordeaux, he had extensive knowledge of winemaking. • In Northern California, Lieutenant Mariano G. Vallejo was sent to take over the Sonoma Mission and pueblo after secularization. – He restored the mission winery and its vineyard. – Vallejo soon became known for his skill in grape growing and winemaking. – He inspired many other early settlers to come to the North Coast and aided them by granting them tracks of land. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Gold Rush • The success of early vintners was aided by California’s expanding population. • Settlers arrived from the East Coast to take advantage of California’s excellent climate for growing crops. – With the gold rush of 1849 there was an expanding base of consumers for wine. • During the second half of the nineteenth century, commercial winemaking operations grew both in number and in size. – In 1869 the completion of the transcontinental railroad made California wines increasingly available on the East Coast. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
A Growing Industry • During the late nineteenth century, grape growing and winemaking exhibited the classic boom and bust cycle. – During boom times, increased demand for wine leads to high prices for grapes which eventually results in overplanting and excess production, ultimately lowering grape prices. – When the price of grapes becomes too low, overall production stagnates or declines until the demand for wine increases, beginning the cycle over again. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
A Growing Industry (continued) • The boom and bust economic cycle was exacerbated by the destruction caused by the root louse phylloxera in 1873, and the economic depression of the late 1880 s. – Although these events were devastating, they did serve to weed out poor and inefficient producers and to replace the ubiquitous Mission grape with varieties that are more suited to winemaking. – During this time some of California's most famous wineries were established. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Prohibition • The Eighteenth Amendment established national Prohibition in the United States and outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages from January 16, 1920, until December 5, 1933. – The anti-alcohol movement had been growing for more than 100 years, and a number of individual states and communities passed their own “dry” laws during this time. – During World War I, patriotic sentiment to preserve foodstuffs for the war effort combined with the temperance movement to gain majority support for the Eighteenth Amendment. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Prohibition (continued) • The passing of Prohibition devastated the winemaking industry in California, closing all but the few wineries that were allowed to make wine for use in food flavoring or sacramental use. • However, home production of up to 200 gallons of wine was allowed. – This loophole increased the demand for wine grapes. – Growers who were accustomed to barely making a profit were producing as much as they could for shipping out to eastern markets for home winemakers. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Prohibition (continued) • The varieties that had thick skins and the most color were considered the most valuable because they could withstand the rail journey to the East Coast. • Their deep color also allowed home winemakers to stretch production by adding water and sugar to get more wine per pound of fruit. • This meant that the classic wine varieties that replaced the Mission grape in the late 1800 s were themselves replaced with varieties more suited for shipping. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Post-Prohibition • At the end of Prohibition in 1933, there was much anticipation that there would be a rapid resurgence of the wine industry. However, several factors prevented this from happening: – During their closure, wineries had fallen into disrepair, and there were few skilled winemakers available. – Prohibition ended in the middle of the Depression, and there was little demand for wine and few resources available for rebuilding. – People’s tastes had changed, and consumers had gotten used to poor quality homemade wine. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Post-Prohibition (continued) • In the first year after Prohibition there were 804 wineries in California; by 1940 one-third of them had failed. • The Wine Institute was formed in 1934 as a trade organization to promote California wines. • Another organization that was instrumental in improving the quality of wine after Prohibition was the University of California at Davis. – A pilot winery was built on campus, and an academic program was established to train students as winemakers and grape growers. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Post-Prohibition (continued) • Through the work of these and other organizations, the quality of California wine improved, and consequently sales increased. • The wines produced during this time were generally inexpensive and of good, if not great, quality. Few people thought the wines matched the quality of imported wines. • This trend continued until the late 1960 s when a period of great expansion began. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Wine Revolution • From 1971 to 1980, the per capita consumption of wine in the United States and the number of wineries both doubled. • Winemakers invested more effort in obtaining better grapes and improved their methods of production. • Sales of wine increased dramatically during this time, particularly for the premium end of the market. • Consumers tastes were also changing as well. – In 1968, table wines (dry wines) outsold desert wines for the first time since before Prohibition. – In 1976, white wines outsold red for the first time. – Also in 1976 California wine bested French wines in an influential tasting in Paris. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The 1980 s and 1990 s • During this time, the growth in America’s wine consumption slowed and stabilized, but the market for premium wines continued to be strong. • The industry’s successes continued to inspire individuals to enter the business and start small boutique wineries. – The value of vineyard land in Napa and Sonoma counties significantly increased. This helped to spur development of premium wineries in other areas of the state. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Today • Increased sales of premium wine in the 1990 s encouraged vintners to increase production. – This new production came on line at the same time as there was decreased demand due to a sluggish economy. – This in turn led to prices being lowered on many grape varieties grown throughout the state. • Wineries not wanting to lower their price sold off their excess production in bulk to other wineries that would bottle it under their own name. – The wine they produced was less expensive and often of very good quality, which helped to spur consumer interest in wine. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Today (continued) • Another factor affecting the economic cycles of the California wine industry is globalization. • Consumers in the United States are becoming more familiar with wines from the Southern Hemisphere and Europe that compete directly with wines from California. • These imported wines are often produced specifically for export to the United States and brought in by multinational companies that have winery holdings both in California and overseas. – This global competition puts extra pressure on California winemakers to keep their prices affordable. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Viticultural Appellations • California’s broad diversity of growing conditions makes it suitable for producing a variety of grapes and wines. • One method of identifying these grape-growing regions is by political boundaries, where the county of origin is used to describe the source of the grape. • For example: To be labeled “Monterey County, ” a minimum of 75 percent of the grapes used to produce the wine must be grown in California’s Monterey County. – This is not always adequate because political boundaries do not always match different grape-growing climates or terroirs. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Viticultural Appellations (continued) • In 1980 the BATF allowed for the creation of American Viticultural Areas, more commonly known as AVAs. • Vintners and growers could petition the Government to form an AVA in a specific geographical area with a common climate, soil type, and history of winemaking. – The largest AVA in California is the Central Coast Appellation, which has over 5. 4 million acres. – The smallest AVA is Cole Ranch with only 150 acres. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Viticultural Appellations (continued) • Appellations can overlap political boundaries as well as other AVAs. – To be labeled with an AVA, at least 85 percent of the grapes used to make a wine must be from that region. – If wines are blended from several areas of the state that do not have a common political boundary or AVA, they are labeled as California. – If the grapes are grown, produced as wine, and then bottled all on winery property, they can be labeled “Estate Bottled. ” © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Viticultural Appellations (continued) • Unlike the French system of appellation d’origine contrôlée, American Viticultural Appellations only govern the geographical origin of the grapes and do not dictate viticultural or winemaking methods. • Furthermore, the government’s sanction of the boundaries of an AVA makes no endorsement of quality of the grapes it produces. – One complaint of this system is the government has been too free in allowing the establishment of new AVAs in areas that do not have a common terroir. – Another criticism of the system is that large AVAs often include a diversity of climates suitable to many varieties of grapes. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Wine Regions of California • California’s large size and varied topography give it a wide range of growing conditions that are suitable for many different grape varieties. • Grapes can be grown in most of the state except the northwest coast, which is too wet, and areas that are too high in elevation and therefore too cold. – With irrigation, even the desert areas in the southeast of the state can also support vineyards. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Wine Regions of California (continued) • Most of the grapes that are used for premium wine production are grown in the state’s coastal valleys. – Here the Pacific Ocean has a moderating effect on the climate, keeping it cooler than vineyards that are located more inland. • In the Central Valley region, the weather is warmer and soils are more fertile, and the grapes that are grown often are used for less expensive wines. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Napa Valley • The Napa Valley lies just north of the San Francisco Bay in the temperate zone between Northern California's cool coast and warm interior. • The appellation covers the vast majority of the land in the county and includes most of the watershed for the Napa River. – It ranges in elevation from near sea level on the valley floor to 2, 700 feet along the ridges of the mountains. – Grape growing is by far the dominant agriculture in the Napa Valley AVA with more than 35, 000 acres being planted to wine grapes. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Napa Valley (continued) • The Napa Valley is the most widely recognized of California’s AVAs and is considered by many to be its premiere wine-producing region. – This opinion is reflected in the fact that Napa Valley grapes and wines routinely command the highest prices in the state. • In the 1970 s, tourism became the county’s largest employer. – To deal with these crowds, wineries routinely charge for sampling the wines in their tasting rooms, a practice that is still rare in other California wine regions. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of the Napa Valley • The Napa Valley is a large AVA with a wide variety of soil types and climates. • The climate becomes warmer at the north end of the valley away from the cooling influences of the bay. • Elevation also affects the temperature; vineyards located above the fog layer will not benefit from its cooling effects. – It is not unusual for hillside vineyards to have lower temperatures than the valley floor during the day and warmer conditions at night. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of the Napa Valley (continued) • In addition to the variation in climate, there is also a complex array of different types of soils found throughout the valley. – On the valley floor, the soils are a mix of sedimentary layers of old sea beds with the material that has washed down from the surrounding hills. – The surrounding hillsides are often made up of thinner, rocky soils that are comprised of sedimentary layers uplifted by geological faults or were derived from volcanic activity. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley • Not long after the region was established as an AVA, smaller AVAs within the Napa Valley’s borders were established. • These smaller or sub-appellations have more uniform terroir and are more suited to particular grape varieties. – As of 2004, Napa County was home to 14 different AVAs as well as being part of the North Coast appellation. – The valley’s numerous terroirs allow for the production of many different varieties of grapes, but market demand makes Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay the most widely planted varieties. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • The Los Carneros AVA – The southernmost area of Napa County’s viticultural regions is the Los Carneros appellation, commonly referred to as Carneros. – It is made up of the flatlands and low hills and extends into both the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. – Being the closest of Napa County’s appellations to the maritime influences of the San Pablo Bay, the region is known for its cool and breezy weather. This climate makes it ideal for cool climate grape varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • The Oak Knoll, Yountville AVAs – Moving up the valley is the Oak Knoll appellation just outside the city of Napa, and then the Yountville AVA that is situated around the small town of the same name. – Being relatively close to the cooling influences of the bay, these appellations encompass a moderate zone between the cooler climate to the south and the warmer appellations further up valley. – As in Carneros, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are popular as well as Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • Stags Leap AVA – The Stags Leap district lies to the east of the Yountville AVA – Being on the east side of the valley, Stags Leap receives more afternoon sun than the west side of the valley and is slightly warmer. – Cabernet Sauvignon is the variety for which the AVA is best known. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • The Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena AVAs – Moving up the valley, the Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena AVAs lie in succession. – The three AVAs are home to many wineries and have some of the Napa Valley’s best-known and historic operations. – These regions cover a number of soil types and microclimates that are suitable to many varieties of grapes, including Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and red Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • The Mount Veeder, Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, and Howell Mountain AVAs – The first three AVAs lie above the valley floor in the Mayacamas mountain range on the west side of the Napa Valley, and Howell Mountain lies opposite them on the east side of the valley in the Vaca Mountain Range. • The Mt. Veeder appellation extends from the foothills to the west of the city of Napa for nearly 13 miles to the northwest. – This appellation is suitable for many varieties of grapes including Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Bordeaux reds. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • The Spring Mountain AVA begins several miles north of the Mt. Veeder Appellation and directly west of the St. Helena AVA. – It is warmer than the Mt. Veeder appellation but also has a varied mix of sedimentary and volcanic soils. • The Diamond Mountain AVA is contiguous to the northern border of Spring Mountain and directly west above the town of Calistoga. – It is best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • The Howell Mountain Appellation is a high region that begins at 1, 400 feet and is well above the cool evening breezes and fog that comes into the valley in the summertime. – It is one of the older sub-appellations established in the Napa Valley, and the district does well with Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sub-Appellations of the Napa Valley (continued) • Other Napa Appellations – These final three Napa County appellations are more limited in production than the other Napa appellations and are not as widely used by wineries. • Atlas Peak • Chiles Valley • Wild Horse Valley © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sonoma County • Sonoma County lies directly to the west of Napa County. Its eastern border is the ridge of the Mayacamas mountain range and extends westward to the Pacific Ocean. • On the south it is bordered by the San Pablo Bay and Marin County, and to the north it is bordered by Lake and Mendocino counties. • Sonoma leads all other coastal counties in production of premium wine grapes with more than 59, 000 acres producing over 180, 000 tons of fruit, 40 percent more than Napa County. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sonoma County (continued) • Its history goes back to the time of the missions, and its early successes helped to establish the wine industry in Northern California. • Sonoma County wines are among the most famous in the state and rival those of the Napa Valley in quality if not quite in price. • The first vineyards were planted in the county in the 1820 s at the site of the Sonoma Mission. • Sonoma County’s fertile soils and temperate climate made it a natural setting for many diverse types of agriculture. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Sonoma County • Invariably the similarities and proximity of Napa and Sonoma invite comparisons. • Both appellations have comparable histories and played parallel roles in the development of California’s premium wine industry. • Additionally they are both large regions with a number of diverse terroirs that are well suited to a wide variety of grapes and wine. • Sonoma wine country, being generally in less of a limelight than Napa, is often less crowded and more rustic in character. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County • In Sonoma County, like all of California’s coastal wine regions, the ocean has a moderating effect, keeping the winter warmer and the summer cooler. • The cooling effects of the ocean are channeled through valleys and broken up by the county’s mountain ridges. – Inland the weather is warm and appropriate for grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. – Near the coast the climate is very cool and vineyards are better suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. • Sonoma County has been divided into a patchwork of 13 AVAs. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Sonoma Valley AVA – Established in 1982, Sonoma Valley is the county’s oldest AVA. Reaching from the San Pablo Bay on the south, 23 miles to the northwest, the appellation is framed by the Mayacamas Range to the east and to the west by Sonoma Mountain. – Fog and cool ocean breezes can come into the valley from the southern end of Sonoma Mountain or from the north through Santa Rosa. – On the southern end, the cooler climate is ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and in the midsections of the valley, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon is well suited to hillside vineyards that are above the fog layer. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley AVAs – The Sonoma Mountain AVA is above the valley floor on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain from 400 to 1, 200 feet. The soils are primarily of volcanic nature and are very well drained. – The Bennett Valley region is on the western edge of the Sonoma Valley between Sonoma Mountain to the south and Bennett peak to the north. The moderate climate makes it well adapted for Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Russian River, Chalk Hill, and Sonoma Green Valley AVAs – The Russian River AVA covers much of the lower drainage of the Russian River. – The western portion of the Russian River AVA is one of the coolest in North Coast counties and excellent for producing grapes such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. Inland the climate becomes slightly warmer, and varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel do well. • Within the Russian River AVA are two subappellations, Chalk Hill to the east and Sonoma Green Valley to the west. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Dry Creek Valley AVA – The Dry Creek Valley begins in the town of Healdsburg and follows the path of Dry Creek, a tributary of the Russian River, 15 miles to the northwest. – In the lowlands along the banks of Dry Creek the soils are more alluvial in nature, and in the bench land above the flood plain the soils are more volcanic in origin. – The appellation is best known for its Zinfandel, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are also widely planted. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Rockpile AVA begins above Lake Sonoma in the western section of the Dry Creek AVA and extends to the Mendocino County border. – The area is very rugged, and the grapes grow predominantly in hillside vineyards. Even though the AVA is very young, it has already gained a reputation for producing quality Zinfandel. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Alexander Valley AVA – The Alexander Valley AVA is a wide valley created by the upper section of the Russian River as it passes through northern Sonoma County. – It extends from just north of the town of Healdsburg 20 miles north to the Mendocino County line. – Being more inland, it is slightly warmer than the Dry Creek Valley and typically has deep, fertile, sandy loam soils. – The appellation is perhaps best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, but there also extensive plantings of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Regions of Sonoma County (continued) • The Knights Valley AVA – The Knights Valley AVA is positioned between Alexander Valley to the west and the upper Napa Valley to the east. – Being further inland it is one of the warmest of Sonoma County’s AVAs and is well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon as well as Sauvignon Blanc. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Lake and Mendocino Counties • The counties of Lake and Mendocino are part of the North Coast AVA and lie directly to the north of Napa and Sonoma Counties. • As in Napa and Sonoma, the majority of the vineyards are located in the valleys of the coast range. • With the exception of Anderson Valley, the vineyards of Mendocino and Lake Counties are further inland, and mountains separate them from the ocean. – These factors result in less of a coastal influence than in Napa and Sonoma and consequently a warmer climate. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Lake and Mendocino Counties (continued) • Like Napa and Sonoma, there is a long history of agriculture with a diversity of crops. – Similar to what happened in Napa and Sonoma, these crops are giving way to grapes because of their greater market value. • The counties maintain much of their rural character and to this day are less developed than in Napa and Sonoma. • The grape growing in Lake and Mendocino counties is dispersed, and many of the 13 AVAs located within these counties do not overlap or have contiguous borders. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA • This huge viticultural area extends from the east side of the San Francisco Bay all the way to Santa Barbara in Southern California. • It includes the grape-growing regions of Alameda, Contra Costa, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties. • At nearly 5½ million acres the Central Coast is by far the largest AVA in California. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA (continued) • Its size makes for such a great degree of variation in terroirs that the designation means little except to distinguish the cooler Central Coast vineyards from those located in the warmer regions of California’s interior. • It is divided into a number of sub-appellations to help differentiate its varied growing conditions. • The winemaking history of the district dates back to the time of the missions, and the region has seen much new development in recent decades. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA (continued) • In the San Francisco Bay region in the northern part of the appellation, the vast majority of the historic vineyards have been replaced by urban development. – This includes the Santa Clara Valley, one of the state’s best known wine regions in the early 1900 s; today it is better known as the Silicon Valley. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA (continued) • The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is located in the hills of the coast range in Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. The appellation is defined by the land that is above 400 feet in elevation. – When the Central Coast AVA was approved in 1985, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA was excluded so the appellations were contiguous but do not overlap. – The vineyards and wineries are generally small and dispersed throughout the area, with many vintners acquiring grapes from outside the appellation to supplement their production. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA (continued) • In Monterey County, the Salinas Valley in particular has ideal soils and climate for vegetable crops, but most growers considered it too cool for wine grapes. • In the 1970 s wineries from outside the county, looking to expand their production, established large vineyard operations, and production rapidly grew. – At first varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon were planted that were ill suited to Monterey’s cool weather, and the results were far from perfect. – In the 1990 s cool weather varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted in the cooler northern part of the county and were much more successful. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA (continued) • Today there are more then 40, 000 acres (16, 200 hectares) of grapes in Monterey County. • Moving down the Salinas Valley from the coast are the Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Bernabe, San Lucas, Carmel Valley, and Hames Valley AVAs, all located within the Monterey AVA. – Generally, they have well drained soils, and the appellations grow warmer the farther they are from the bay. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Coast AVA (continued) • To the east of Monterey County is San Benito County. – Like Monterey, the region has mix of large vineyards and wineries as well as smaller producers. – In the north the climate is cool and similar to that of the Monterey AVA, though to the south the climate becomes warmer. – There are several sub-appellations: Cienega Valley, Lime Kiln Valley, Paicines, Mt. Harlan, and Chalone AVAs. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
San Luis Obispo County • San Luis Obispo County is located directly south of Monterey County. – The county has a dichotomy of large and small producers. • The largest AVA in the county is the Paso Robles appellation. – The appellation has experienced rapid growth in the last 20 years and currently has more than 20, 000 acres planted to wine grapes. – Here the costal mountains block much of the cooling influence from the coast, and the region is generally warmer than Monterey AVA to the north. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
San Luis Obispo County (continued) • South of the Paso Robles appellation, the weather has a greater maritime influence. • Here lies the Edna Valley AVA, which is much smaller and considerably cooler than Paso Robles. • The appellation is best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. – Edna Valley’s southern location in the state makes for an early spring budbreak. This, combined with the cool summers, results in a long growing season. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Santa Barbara County • This last of California’s major viticultural areas before reaching the vast urban areas of Los Angeles had the earliest vineyards. – The friars of the mission period were the first people to plant grapes in the 1780 s, but there was almost no further vineyard development until the 1970 s. – The climate here is comparable to that in the southern portion of San Luis Obispo County. – White grapes outnumber reds by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1, and the county is home to more than 40 wineries. – The proximity to the Los Angeles urban area brings in many visitors to Santa Barbara’s wine county. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Santa Barbara County (continued) • The two largest AVAs in the county are the Santa Maria Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. • The Santa Maria Valley AVA begins about 10 miles inland on the border with San Luis Obispo County. – It is slightly cooler than the Santa Ynez Valley to the south, and Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are popular varieties. • To the south the Santa Ynez AVA is a little warmer than the Santa Maria region. – Popular grapes are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. • Two smaller growing regions in the county are the Santa Rita Hills AVA and the Los Alamos Valley. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Valley • California’s great Central Valley extends for 450 miles throughout the middle of the state. • It produces 73 percent of the wine grape harvest and 99 percent of the state’s table grape and raisin production. • There are many large vineyards, and these vineyards generally produce a wine that has a more neutral flavor than coastal vineyards. – Central Valley grapes sell at an average of $300 per ton, whereas Napa Valley grapes bring in more than $1, 900 per ton. • All of the state’s largest wineries are located in the Central Valley. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
The Central Valley (continued) • The Central Valley, in spite of its importance to the wine industry, does not have its own AVA, and the wines produced here are usually labeled as “California. ” • The entire valley is warm, but the area just south of Sacramento does receive some cooling influences from the San Francisco Bay. – This area, which is known as the Delta region, contains the Central Valley's two most prominent AVAs of Clarksburg and Lodi. – The quality of the grapes grown in these AVAs is considered superior to those grown further south; consequently, they command higher prices. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.
Summary • California’s history and climate have made it the natural center of wine production in the United States. • Its diversity of growing conditions allows for the creation of a wide range of wines. • The increasing popularity of wine has resulted in the growth of new winemaking regions outside of California. • In 2005, all 50 states had bonded wineries, and there were 74 AVAs outside of California. • In spite of the growth of these new wine regions, California remains the nation’s most important wine producer. © 2007 Thomson Delmar Learning. All Rights Reserved.