With vineyards dating back to the 1800s, Carmel Valley is a rugged, rustic region west of Monterey and Pebble Beach. Carmel Valley received its designation as an AVA in 1983 and encompasses more than 19,000 acres, with 300 acres of wine grapes under cultivation. The vineyards are predominantly within Carmel Valley and Cacahgua Valley. Cachagua Valley’s unique mountainous setting sits high above the fog-line along the coast and exposes the grapes to a warmer overall climate. Average summer temperatures can reach into the 100’s with cool evenings dropping into the low 30’s and 40’s. This dramatic swing in temperature extends the ripening time and growing season, allowing the grapes a slow maturation process for eventual complexity in the fruit and the wine. The vineyards in the Carmel Valley AVA are planted mostly on mountainous terrain, with the highly prized San Andreas Fine Sandy Loam and the Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam soils being predominant. This type of soil provides ideal drainage and allows for optimal airflow through the root system. It requires minimal amounts of supplemental irrigation by the grower and results in healthy, vibrant grapes. The Carmel Valley’s terrain and climate is ideal for creating rich, full bodied wines; the Bordeaux varietals are favorites here, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot comprising more than 70% of the grapes grown in the district. In addition, new vineyards in the Carmel Valley are utilizing the numerous micro-climate within the AVA to plant Burgundian varietals.