Monterey Wine Country boasts over 175 unique vineyards. Winegrowing mostly takes place in a 90-mile-long valley, with only eight primary viticulture soil types. The northernmost areas of Monterey, deemed as on the edge of being too cold to grow winegrapes, are held in high esteem for their exceptional production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Yet, the valley experiences a “thermal rainbow™” spreading north-to-south, cold to warm, providing diverse ever-warming micro-climates supporting forty-two fine wine varietals.
Within the world-class designation of Monterey County, the region has nine American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) that have been identified as truly one-of-a-kind winegrowing districts: Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Lucas, Hames Valley, Chalone, Carmel Valley, San Antonio Valley, and San Bernabe. These areas are referred to as “appellations” which is a term that identifies the winegrape’s place of origin.
The History of the Monterey Wine Country Vineyards
Ancestors from over two hundred years ago knew that the Monterey Wine Country region had the potential for growing amazing grapes. There is a lot of rich vineyard history that dates back to the Franciscan friars. At the Spanish mission in Soledad, friars planted the first crop of wine grapes. Those vines withered and, sadly, no trace remains today of what was to become of this important region.
Rediscovered in the ’60′s – It was not until the early 1960′s that the full potential of Monterey County, as a wine-producing region, began. In 1960 Professor A.J. Winkler, a viticultural authority from the University of California at Davis, published a report classifying grape growing districts by climate. Monterey County was classified as Region I and II, comparable with the premium regions of Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
New Vineyards Established – This discovery came at an opportune time. The demand for table wines had been steadily increasing, and established wineries had begun to seek out new land for their vineyards.So, in the early 1960′s, the first shrewd plantings of vineyards began. Among these were Wente, Mirassou, Paul Masson, J. Lohr and Chalone. From those early beginnings, Monterey Wine Country vineyards have grown, with current grape values exceeding over $280 million on an annual basis.
Today – We invite you to explore the vineyards of Monterey Wine Country. Today’s growers use innovative techniques to preserve the land for future generations, while producing the highest quality grapes that go into the best wines available. With over 42 varietals, the region leaps with character and diversity that continue to meet consumer taste preferences and quality standards.
It all begins in the vineyard!