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The Role of Climate on McDowell Valley Wine Production

The small AVA covers only about 540 total acres and has 330 acres of vineyards. Largely because of the valley’s unique climate as well as historical legacy of producing specific varietals, the valley was granted AVA status very early in 1982. The AVA system was established only three years earlier.

Although temperatures are warm, the nearby Russian River lends a moderating influence. Traveling over the Mayacamas Mountains takes you to truly hot territory. Although the AVA is noticeably cooler than more inland regions, it is still warm enough to successfully grow several heat-loving Rhone varietals.

Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Marsanne, Cinsault, Viognier and Zinfandel are the most widely planted grapes. Significant tracts of old vine Zinfandel are also cultivated in the viticultural area. The region’s only resident winery, McDowell Valley Vineyard, produces some excellent examples of these varietals.

> Mendocino Wineries

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