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The Role of Climate in Santa Ynez Wine Production

Coastal parts of Santa Ynez Valley are exposed to the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive in this cool climate. Botrytis cinerea affects certain vineyard planted with Gewurztraminer and Riesling.

Moving inland, summer temperatures increase by about one degree Fahrenheit per mile and the elevation gradually rises to 800 feet above sea level. The climate gets warmer not only because of the distance from the ocean, but also because the terrain is composed of hills and canyons that block wind and fog. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Rhone varietals are planted in the warmer, eastern hills.

Syrah makes exciting wines from this part of the region. The hot days let the fruit characteristics of this grape develop to maturity, while the cool nights help to retain acidity and balance. Beckmen Vineyards produces a couple of spicy and well rounded Syrahs from Santa Ynez Valley.

> Santa Ynez Valley Wineries

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