The Wine Industry Regions Of Southern California

The Wine Market Areas Of Southern California

California is a state that produces 90 % of all wine in the US, and the vineyards in the north, in Sonoma and Napa, are amongst the most popular on the planet. Nevertheless, they do not have the only quality vineyards in the state. The wines from the younger southern California wineries are on an equivalent par to their cousins of the north.

Most of southern California wine is produced in two areas, the vineyards of Santa Barbara, 100 miles north of Los Angeles, and those near San Diego, 100 miles south of the city. Both locations have actually been deeply associated with the development of the California wine market, a market that now ships over 450 million gallons of wine a year to the United States and other nations.

Santa Barbara’s Vineyards
The costal mountains east-west placing develops the valleys that open onto the Pacific Ocean. The circulation of fog and breezes that result from this little bit of serendipitous geography produce the ideal conditions for the first-rate varieties of wine that are the pride of Santa Barbara. The moderate environment produces the most favorable conditions that grapes need for optimal sugar and acid levels. There are also several “micro-climates” near the Pacific Coast and the Pala Mesa mountains.

The fifty mile coast from Point Conception to Rincon forms the longest east-west coastline on the west coast. The vines here grow on anything and whatever, from the rolling hillsides to the exceptionally warm valleys, where summer temperature levels frequently reach 100F or 38C. This climate enables the vintners to work throughout the four seasons: the pruning and weeding is done during the winter, new planting begins in the spring, canopy management in the summer season and lastly the yearly harvest in the fall. This location has an equivalent environment to the Rhône valley in France, and the wine makers have responded similarly. One specific vineyard is located on a hillside 1,000 feet above sea level, with ideal northern direct exposure making it the ideal location for the Rhone varietals that are grown here.

There are an abundance of European grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese and Syrah. This variety is enabled by the large number of micro-climates in the area. For example, the cool-climate Chardonnay succeeds because of the occasional snow on the mountains. In contrast, the heat-loving Syrah flourishes in the warmer micro-climates. The wine makers likewise took on the vibrant difficulty of growing the challenging Pinot Noir, a wine resonant with strawberry and organic aspects.

While there were almost no vineyards in the county twenty-five years earlier, today the wine industry is a $100 million dollar business. The Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valley alone grew to 8,000 acres under growing in the twenty years in between 1975 and 1995. Between 1995 and 2000, the number jumped to 18,000. Today there are over 21,000 acres of these vineyards and half of the grapes are being delivered to winemakers beyond the county.

Oak Mountain Winery - Mourvedre Grape Vines
Source: Flickr

The cultural rivalry between northern and southern California is likewise reflected in the wine service. This is a young industry here; the majority of the southern vineyards didn’t exist Twenty Years earlier. The very first wines were produced in Temecula in 1971.

Twenty-two miles from the Pacific Ocean, the 1,400-foot Temecula plateau is positioned between peaks of the Coastal Range of mountains. The afternoon breeze blows the smog away, and the distinct micro-climate in the area take advantage of a higher solar strength than Napa Valley.

The vineyards of Temecula are kept damp by large underground aquifers. The soil itself is high in decomposed granite. This helps drain and keeps the soil free of Phylloxera, an intrusive insect that destroyed large numbers of old European wine regions. It still stays a problem today.

Close by is Shadow Mountain vineyard. Located in the mountains above San Diego, this is the greatest vinery in California at 4,400 feet above water level.

All grapes grow in Temecula, consisting of Chardonnay, White Rhône, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet and the Italian Nebbiolo, which is harvested as late as November. The area produces a wine with a fruity character, in contrast to the woodiness which found in other California vintages.

The spiritual guys of the Mission of San Juan Capistrano were the first winemakers in southern California, and after 200 years, the market is now in full-bloom. Due to the collaboration in between wine researchers and winemakers, the 1,800 acres of commercial vineyards of southern California are more successful than ever.

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