Appellation Article

Santa Ynez Valley

Last edited on 5/20/2012 by Eric
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The Santa Ynez Valley AVA is the largest wine sub-region of Santa Barbara County and has the highest concentration of vineyards. The valley runs from east to west, between the Purisima Hills and the San Rafael Mountains in the north, and the Santa Ynez Mountains in the south. Although the valley is open to the Pacific Ocean in the west, the fact that it is relatively narrow means that limited cool air and fog is funnelled in. Low average rainfall and a very long growing season make the region ideal for quality wine production.

The diverse climates of Santa Ynez Valley mean that a wide array of wines is produced. The cool, western part of the AVA is predominantly planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, accompanied by other aromatic white varieties. Botrytis cinerea (noble rot) is able to flourish here, allowing some outstanding dessert wines to be produced in suitable vintages. Further east, the cooling effect of the ocean is lessened as both vineyard elevation and average temperatures increase. This warmer part of Santa Ynez Valley is more suited to fuller-bodied grape varieties, such as Syrah and Merlot.
more ...s expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive, while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhone blends.