Mendocino Ridge Climate
The Role of Temperature Fluctuations on Mendocino Ridge Wine Production
Elevation is the primary criteria for being included in the AVA (vineyards must be over 1200 feet). All of the current vineyards are planted between 1400 and 2400 feet above sea level.
At 2,736 feet, Cold Spring Mountain is the highest point in the AVA. Peaks in the Mendocino Ridge look like islands when the fog rolls in. During the growing season, the AVA enjoys significant sunshine, making it historically suited to grow Zinfandel.
Because it has a true coastal climate, the AVA receives quite a bit of rainfall. It is also influenced by the moderating effects of the ocean. These features of the region’s climate help to retain acidity in the generally sunbathed grapes. The results are balanced, complex wines.
Few California AVAs have larger temperature fluctuations throughout the year. Winters in the region are particularly cold, and snow is not uncommon. Spring frosts and cool temperatures can postpone budbreak to the last days of April.
Lacking a moderate spring, temperatures quickly rise and can reach 100 degrees during early summer. These warm temperatures are sustained through fall when many other wine regions can be subject to sporadic weather.
In addition to Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon also thrives in the AVA. The growing season is exceptionally long, and can last for over 300 days. This allows the flavor and aroma profile of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon to fully develop. Edmeades Estate Winery is located in the AVA and makes several Zins and Cabs from grapes sourced throughout Mendocino County.
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