Santa Maria Soil & Terrain
The Role of Santa Maria Valley Terrain in Pinot Noir Production
Soils have a high pH level due to the fact that the region is on the Pacific and not the North American Plate. Pinot Noir and the best Chardonnay vines thrive in cooler, more coastal parts of the AVA. Soils are relatively fertile, well drained and comprised mainly of clay loam or sandy loam. Compared to clay loam, sandy loam produces lighter bodied Pinots with more delicate aromas.
Byron Winery makes excellent Pinot Noir from the region. Au Bon Climat Vineyards also makes some very good wines from the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Kendall Jackson, Southcorp, and Constellation all own a substantial amount of vineyard acreage in the AVA.
Weightier, fuller bodied varietals generally will not ripen properly near the coast, but do quite well in eastern hills. The soils are thinner and more eroded here in this part of the AVA.
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