Wine Regions
California Wine Regions

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The Wine Regions of California

  Walt’s Wine Guide – Sonoma Wine Country Napa Wine Tasting Photo

  Walt’s Wine Guide – Livermore Wine Country

Walt’s Wine Guide – Paso Robles Wine Country

Walt’s Wine Guide – Temecula Wine Country

Napa Appellations

An appellation is a recognized wine area. The legal term Is American Viticultural Area or AVA.

The Napa Valley is itself what is referred to as an appellation. Napa Valley was California’s first recognized appellation and the second appellation recognized in the United States. Within the Napa Valley appellation, there are 16 subappellations: Atlas Peak, Calistoga, Chiles Valley District, Coombsville, Diamond Mountain District, Howell Mountain, Los Carneros, Mt. Veeder, Oak Knoll District, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Stags Leap District, Yountville and Wild Horse Valley.

ATLAS PEAK APPELLATIONNapa appellations

Elevation: 760–2600 feet

Climate: Cool-mountain temperatures, about 10–15º cooler

than the valley floor in the summer

Notable for: Basaltic red color soils, volcanic in origin.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

CALISTOGA APPELLATION

Elevation: 300–1200 feet

Climate: Summer temperatures may peak above 100º and drop

to low 40sº at night

Notable for: Soils of volcanic origin, with rocky clay on the hillsides, and heavier clay-silt in the valley areas

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah

CHILES VALLEY DISTRICT APPELLATION

Elevation: 600–1200 feet

Climate: Summer temperatures reach the mid-80sº, but due to

elevation and evening fog, may drop to below 50º

Notable for: Good fertility on valley and less fertility on the hillsides. Silty-clay soils in the valley and rocky clay on the hillsides.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc

COOMBSVILLE APPELLATION

Elevation: 100-500 feet (small portion over1000 feet)

Climate: Temperate climate

Notable for: Alluvial deposits and weathered volcanic rock

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

DIAMOND MOUNTAIN DISTRICT APPELLATION

Elevation: 400–2200 feet

Climate: Moderately warm temperatures with less fluctuation than the north

Napa Valley; summer temperatures from 50–90° (10–32°C)

Notable for: Reddish gritty soils of volcanic origin. Tannic, with mineral, and cedary taste. Usually needs aging.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc

HOWELL MOUNTAIN APPELLATION

Elevation: 600–2600 feet

Climate: Somewhat warmer and drier due to strong afternoon sun.

Notable for: volcanic soils on and area of low fertility. Tannic, with acidity. Usually needs aging.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Viognier

LOS CARNEROS APPELLATION

Elevation: Sea level–700 feet

Climate: Cool, high temperatures rarely exceed 80º

Notable for: Shallow clay dominated soil.

Primary varieties: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

MOUNT VEEDER APPELLATION

Elevation: 500–2,600 feet

Climate: Cool to moderate temperatures, with most vineyards above the fog line.

Noted for: Tannic and minerally, but strong flavors. Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay

OAK KNOLL DISTRICT OF NAPA VALLEY APPELLATION

Elevation: Sea level–800 feet

Climate: Moderate to cool temperatures, with marine air and fog often remaining until late

morning.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay,

Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling

OAKVILLE APPELLATION

Elevation: Sea level–500 feet

Climate: Moderately warm temperatures

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc

RUTHERFORD APPELLATION

Elevation: Sea level–600 feet

Climate: Moderately warm.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel

SPRING MOUNTAIN DISTRICT APPELLATION

Elevation: 600–2600 feet

Climate: Cooler temperatures prevail.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Chardonnay

ST. HELENA APPELLATION

Elevation: 100–700 feet)

Climate: Warm temperatures, with greater protection from the hills,Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah,

Zinfandel, Viognier

STAGS LEAP DISTRICT APPELLATION

Elevation: Sea Level to 400 feet

Climate: Moderately warm temperatures, Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

WILD HORSE VALLEY APPELLATION

Elevation: 600–1900 feet

Climate: Warmer area temperatures.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

YOUNTVILLE APPELLATION

Elevation: 20–200 feet

Climate: Moderate temperatures, with cooler marine air and fog contributing to cooler

mornings.

Primary varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot


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