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The Effect of El Dorado Climate on Grape Growing

Ranging between 2,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level, the El Dorado AVA has one of the most elevated climates in all of California. Breezes from the Sierra Nevada Mountains cool higher elevations of the AVA considerably. Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Barbera, and Petite Sirah are widely planted at these higher elevations.

Grapes grown in cooler, elevated parts of El Dorado have higher acidity and lower sugar. Zinfandel made from this fruit has lower alcohol than Zin from less elevated, warmer regions like Shenandoah Valley and Fiddletown in Amador County. Because the majority of Zinfandel’s weight and body comes from its alcohol level, El Dorado Zins are usually lighter bodied than examples from Amador County.

Locally grown Cabernet Franc does very well as a single varietal wine which is an exception in California. Syrah, Barbera, and Petite Sirah are traditional mountain grapes that thrive in El Dorado’s climate. Gewurztraminer, Viognier, and Riesling are also showing promise in the region.

> El Dorado Wineries

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