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Santa Lucia Highlands AVA

Monterey, Central Coast

Perched above the western side of the Salinas Valley in Monterey, California, just south of San Francisco, lies the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Long and narrow it starts as low as 40 feet above the valley floor and proceeds to 1,200 feet above, providing a diverse growing environment for premier wine grapes. The Highlands, with its strong ocean influences from the chilly Monterey Bay, has built a strong reputation for intense Chardonnays and substantial Pinot Noirs.

The area was first planted by Spanish missionaries in the late 18th Century and the modern wine industry took root in the 1970s. This classic cool-climate growing region offers vintners one of the longest growing seasons in California. This lengthy growing season contributes to slow growing small grapes with thick skins that are allowed to develop complex character and fresh acidity.

The area is currently home to over 40 vineyards with many of the grapes going to outside winemakers, as well as local labels. A number of Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs have been featured as Plus! selections and have been also featured in the Pinot Noir Wine Club.

Santa Lucia Highlands AVA Wineries