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Our Highlands Ranch Vineyard is located in the world renowned Santa Lucia Highlands, also referred to as SLH; a sub-appellation that is part of the larger Monterey County, California AVA (American Viticultural Area). Sitting at the foothills of the Los Padres Mountains this cool weather location is home to the perfect terroir for Pinot Noir.
The Monterey County AVA was established in 1984 and covers approximately 100 miles, with its most northern point being just north of the Monterey Bay to its most southern point boarding Paso Robles. There is roughly 40,000 acres of wine grapes are currently cultivated in Monterey County with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay amongst the mostly popular varieties grown.
Monterey's growing region is extremely unique with incredible diurnal temperature changes; the northern portion of Monterey is a cool growing region, but one with a very long growing season. Daytime temperatures rarely exceed 75 °F, while in the most southern part temperatures can reach 100 degrees at times.
Santa Lucia Highlands is home to one of the vineyards that Wine Enthusiast named a California "Grand Cru" vineyard, as a recognition of the locations that produce the highest-quality wine grapes. The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA (also known as ‘SLH’) is located in the Santa Lucia Mountains, right above what is well-known as an agricultural mecca, the Salinas Valley. The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA spans 22,000 acres, with only 6,400 acres planted to grapevines on the sloping eastern-facing mountain hillsides, ranging in elevation from 40-2,330 feet above sea level. The region enjoys cool morning fog and coastal breezes from the Monterey Bay followed by warm afternoons thanks to direct southern exposures to the sun.
Pinot Noir dominates this regions with 3,500+ acres under vine, but Chardonnay is also well represented with more than 2,200 acres planted. These cool-climate varietals flourish with this coastal environment and produce some of the most stunningly sophisticated and varietally correct wines in California.