The Climate of Rockpile Vineyards
The Effect of Climate of Rockpile Vineyards
This translates to the methodical ripening of grapes and the development of defined varietal characteristics. The region is also blessed with mild winds, further moderating temperatures and making mildew in vineyards a non-issue.
In the early growing season, (March and April), day time temperatures can be 5 to 10 degrees cooler than lower, adjacent AVAs. This is assuming there is no fog on the surrounding valley floors. These cooler temperatures are due to consistent, maritime winds that blow into the AVA from the northwest. The result is a later budbreak and slower ripening throughout the remainder of the growing season.
During the summer months, these winds begin to die down and temperatures rise. While morning fog is common in nearby valleys, Rockpile is largely spared because of its considerable elevation. Grapes thrive in the abundant sunshine.
But it is the months of September and October that really define Rockpile’s unique climate. Temperatures are warmer and rain is less common than in surrounding AVAs.
Full bodied red varietals love these conditions. Zinfandel is the most widely grown varietal, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Merlot and Syrah. Grape yield is very low per acre and extremely high quality.