San Benito AVA

San Benito Valley, Central Coast


The San Benito AVA is made up of a series of mountains and valleys located not far from the town of Gilroy, California is part of the larger Central Coast AVA. San Benito first came under vine in the mid 1800’s. For many years the vineyards of the area were dominated by the classic American wine producer, Almaden. Today the area is home to only about 3,000 acres of grapes and a small group of family owned boutique wineries.

While many who visit the area might think of it as a hot region, the truth is cool ocean breezes that come through the gaps of the surrounding Gabilán range, make the valleys of San Benito cooler than those in Napa Valley. The diversity of temperatures and elevations in the region allows growers to cultivate everything from cool climate Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer to more sun loving Zinfandel and Sangiovese. There are even winemakers in the area that are experimenting with a rare grape called Cabernet Pfeffer. So if exploring California’s back roads is intriguing, then a trip to San Benito may be in order.