Mendocino

Mendocino County is a world leader in certified organically-grown grapes. There are 17,000 acres of vineyards in the County, with 25% of them growing certified organic grapes.

Anderson Valley
– Wide temperature spreads with daily highs and lows often varying 50°F – helps keep acid at correct levels and sugars and flavor in balance through late ‘Indian Summer’
– Nearly level terraces of alluvial soil
– Elevation: sea level – 2,500 ft, Rainfall: 30 – 80 in annually
– Known for Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, and Gewürztraminers
– Many sparkling wines in this region

Cole Ranch
– North America’s smallest appellation at only 189 acres
– Elevation: 1,400 to 1,600 ft
– During growing season there is large diurnal spread – 80°F during the day and dipping to 30°F at night
– High elevation and cold nights can extend ripening time over a month longer than of other regions and preserving acidity
– Soil is mostly gravelly
– Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Riesling – acidity is a defining note of Cole Ranch wines

McDowell Valley
– Only 1 winery in this AVA
– Elevation 1000 ft
– Valley is protected by Coastal Mountain Range so very little marine influence
– Gravelly and loamy alluvial soil
– Climate is slightly cooler than other regions which makes region ideal for Rhone Reds such as Grenache and Syrah, and White Rhone varieties like Marsanne and Viognier

Potter Valley
– Large swings in temperature between day/night
– Terrain formed by erosion of watersheds, alluvial soil with continuous water flow (headwaters of Russian River are located in this AVA)
– Grapes have high concentration due to the daytime warmth and good acidity due to cooler evenings
– Conditions well suited for Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Redwood Valley
– Home to the highest percent of organically grown acreage of AVAs in CA
– Upland valley climate is cooler than surrounding regions – Pacific air currents flow through a gap in the coastal ridge; moderate days, cool nights
– Well-drained alluvial soil
– Cool climate leads to a gradual ripening that make complex and well-structured Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Barbera and Petite Sirah

Yorkville Highlands
– Distinctive soil for Mendocino – thin, gravelly, rocky, highly-porous soil, excellent drainage, results in highly concentrated grapes with preferred acidity
– Cold evenings preserve acidity, afternoon marine breezes. Warm days allow for full maturation
– Elevation: 1,000 – 2,200 ft, Rainfall: 68 in annually
– Climate most suited for Sauvignon Blanc, but can also produce rich Bordeaux reds like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

Covelo
– Includes Round Valley, Williams Valley and nearby foothills
– Round Valley is distinct because of its bowl shape as opposed to long ‘aisle’ type valleys common to the county
– Soils very deep loam
– Valley is well protected from any marine air flow
– Growing season  is typically shorter than other regions
– Fairly warm daytime temperatures promote ripening

Dos Rios
– Home to only one winery which produces only reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel
– Slopes are very steep and incredibly rocky
– Unique climate; combination of maritime and continental

Mendocino Ridge
– Elevations 1200 – ft
– Climate includes continuous sunlight and soft breezes
– Well drained soil
– Only 75 acres (out of quarter million acres) is planted
– Zinfandel has been the only grape planted since the 1800’s
– The only non-contiguous AVA in America