Monterey’s wineries and winery tasting rooms offer a taste of Europe on the California coast.
Monterey Wine Country is an unequaled winemaking region in California that provides a taste of world-renowned vineyards and climes in Bordeaux and Burgundy with vaunted coastlines, weather, and gastronomy. With a rich history that dates back to 1771, Monterey’s story is so much bigger than wine, but we proudly let wine tell our story. Learn all about Monterey Wine Country with its 53 varietals, unparalleled landscapes, and an ambiance inviting you to slow down and savor life while you savor your new favorite wine. Learn more about one of the best California wineries below:
The Thermal Rainbow visualizes the Blue Grand Canyon's (a deep submarine canyon in the Monterey Bay) influence on the temperatures and varietal selection throughout Monterey Wine Country. Cooler areas are to the north, near the ocean, while warmer regions are south and further from the water.
The sun's heat makes warm air rise, generating a low-pressure effect. Conversely, the cool air rolling off the ocean funnels through the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges, mitigating temperature spikes from north to south, elongating the growing season, and enabling slow, gentle ripening. Almost all of Monterey Wine Country's growing areas experience daily afternoon breezes - except for the deep Carmel Valley AVA.
Ultimately, cool climate-loving Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (Burgundian varietals) thrive in the north, while Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Rhone grapes (Bordeaux varietals) flourish in the southern heat.
The terrain, including the bay, submarine canyon, and mountain ranges, undeniably impacts everything in Monterey County, including the wines of Monterey Wine Country.
Beneath the surface of Monterey Bay is an enormous submarine canyon sixty miles long and two miles deep; imagine the Grand Canyon underwater. It is the largest and deepest submarine canyon on the West Coast. This underwater feature makes Monterey Wine Country different from any other coastal wine-growing region.
The "Blue Grand Canyon," as we call it, is a natural wonder that creates a climatic pathway connecting the deep sea to Monterey's wine-growing regions. With approximately 300 cubic miles of cold water, the Blue Grand Canyon has a significant impact on Monterey's viticultural areas that manifests through:
- Morning Fog
- Late Morning and Early Afternoon Winds
- Lack of rain during the growing season
- Moderate temperatures
One of the world's deepest marine canyons and the only one that impacts a wine-growing region, the flavor of our wines deliciously reflect their origins.
What puts Monterey Wine Country in a league of its own is its natural beauty paired with delicious wine.
The privilege of working and living in this unique region comes with significant responsibility to preserve our environment and maintain its natural harmony. Because of this responsibility, grape growers and winemakers' are stewards...and they take this stewardship seriously by continuously innovating ways to care for our land, our employees, and our community.
Our local winegrowers were early adopters of sustainable practices and proponents of careful, conscientious farming and resource and habitat preservation protocols.
In Monterey Wine Country, we have eight primary soil types that instill our wines with incomparable flavor and are ideal for grapevines. Eight soil types account for over eighty percent of our vineyards. Soil types by percentage are:
- Lockwood Shaly Loam: 28%
- Chualar Loam: 15%
- Garey Sandy Loam: 9%
- Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam: 7%
- Rincon Clay Loam: 7%
- Placentia Sandy Loam: 6%
- Oceano Loamy Sand: 5%
- Chamise Shaly Loam: 5%
The Chalone AVA, although small, is one of the only AVAs in the US growing grapes in limestone-based soils, the same as Burgundy.