We’d like to tell you about one of our favorite appellations, Santa Lucia Highlands. If the name “Santa Lucia Highlands” doesn’t automatically ring a bell, chances are the vineyards will. This AVA includes Doctor’s Vineyard, Garys’ Vineyard, Lone Oak Vineyard, Mer Soleil Vineyard, Paraiso Vineyard, Peterson Vineyard, Pisoni Vineyard, Rosella’s Vineyard, Sierra Mar Vineyard, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Smith & Hook Vineyard, Soberanes Vineyard and Tondré Grapefield Vineyard. So, you may already be familiar with excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines made from grapes grown here.
The Santa Lucia Highlands American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located in Monterey County on the eastern side of the coastal Santa Lucia Range of mountains. About 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, it is slightly under 18 miles long and has approximately 6,000 acres of grapevines. There are 50 vineyard properties currently, primarily planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, at elevations ranging from 300 to 1,400 feet. The next most common varietals in the region are Riesling, Syrah, Pinot Gris and Viognier.
This is a cool growing region due to its proximity to Monterey Bay and the earliest Vinifera plantings were at Mission Soledad in the 1790s by Spanish missionaries. The first commercial plantings for the area were completed in the 1970s by local pioneers such as Nicky Hahn (Smith & Hook), Rick Smith (Paraiso), the McFarlands (Sleepy Hollow) and Phil Johnson (La Estancia). Since then, local winegrowers continue to test new clones, trellising systems and farming regimens in the pursuit of excellent wines. Conscientious viticultural standards, whether organic, biodynamic, or sustainable, have long been the norm here.
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