Santa Maria Valley
Santa Maria Valley Wine Country
There are about 15 Santa Maria Valley wineries and 7,500 acres of vineyards. There is not as much of a boutique wine scene here as in other regions, but this is starting to change. More and more tasting rooms are opening in Santa Maria Valley Wine Country, and several local producers offer wine tours.
The regions climate is cool and breezy, and many Santa Maria Wineries specialize in growing Burgundian grapes (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). Syrah also does quite well here. The famous Bien Nacido Vineyard provides grapes for several premium wineries in the state.
Santa Maria Valley Wine Country’s unique terrain is made of oceanic rather than continental crust. Unlike most other regions, Santa Maria Valley Wineries are located on the Pacific Plate instead of the North American Plate. The soil pH is quite high, mirroring the conditions of France’s Burgundy region.
Santa Maria Valley Wine Country was long considered to be too cold for wine grape production. Before the 1960s, there was not much of a market for American Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; the specialty of Santa Maria Wineries. Even though Santa Maria Valley’s history of grape growing and winemaking is not exceptionally long, in 1981 the Federal Government recognized the unique coastal climate and terrain when it granted the region AVA status.
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