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World Class Wines Come With the Territory Along California’s Central Coast

April 4, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

It’s remarkable how quickly the mood and setting changes along the Central Coast. From the very moment you arrive, there’s an unmistakable feeling that you have entered a separate and special place.

Contributing to this identifiable aura are numerous appellations and thousands of acres of vineyards carefully cultivated to produce some of the world’s most celebrated labels and varietals. Located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the regions of the Channel Islands, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey Bay, and Santa Clara humbly boast in their cherished vines.

Due to the variety of rugged coastlines, grassy plains, coastal peaks, canyons, and rolling hills, the Central Coast provides a remarkable range of soils and climates leading to diverse and distinctive wines. To further entice each wine region, a multitude of different landscapes also contribute to the surprising array of activities available on the Central Coast. No where else can you easily surf in the morning, taste at wineries during the day, horseback ride through countryside at dusk, and meander through one of California’s historic and beautiful Missions at night. As seen in the award winning movie Sideways, Central Coast wine regions are undoubtedly taking their place as some of the best of the best, while never losing their unpretentious ways. You’ll find places where down-to-earth wine makers still rub elbows with beginner and experienced wine connoisseurs alike. It is no question why first-time visitors just can’t get enough; and why locals are rejoicing in their riches.

“On the Central Coast, our wineries and vineyards are more to us than just great wines- wine here is one of the assets on the Central Coast, where people travel from all over the world to experience our unique culmination of passionate people in inspiring settings,” says Tracy Farhad, President of the Central Coast Tourism Council. “Wine here kindles the economic benefits that tourism brings to the Central Coast and its local communities. ‘The Original Road Trip’ is Classic California: scenic, stimulating, hands-on, and inviting. When you embark on world-class wines on the most beautiful coastlines and unspoiled regions, you’ve come across the endlessly majestic Central Coast.”

The regions that define the Central Coast are the Channel Islands region, the Santa Barbara region, the San Luis Obispo region, the Monterey region, and the Santa Clara Valley. These areas all encompass traits that are uniquely theirs, contributing to the heart-warming and pallet-enticing Central Coast.

Channel Islands Region

From Long-Known Labels to Emerging Producers

In the Channel Islands Region, the southern part of the Central Coast, Artisan wine makers are putting the region on the wine lover’s map.  From long known labels like Ojai Vineyards, to emerging producers like Four Brix Winery, there is bound to be a wine for every palette.  Award winning wineries like Old Creek Ranch and Vino V have tasting rooms and behind the scenes tours available where you will meet the winemakers during your visit.  Small scale producers, Rancho Ventavo and Magnavino, both located in Oxnard, round out the scene with the Region’s largest producer, Herzog Wine Cellars. Opening Summer 2012, the Hollywood Beach Wine Company in Channel Islands Harbor will offer select tastings of international, Ventura County/Channel Islands Region and central coast wines. There are 16 wineries on the Ventura County Wine Trail and guided tours are available at either the California Welcome Center in Oxnard or the Ventura Visitors Center in Ventura.

Santa Barbara Region

Santa Barbara County’s Cool Wine Country

Currently home to more than 175 wineries and 17,000 acres of vines, Santa Barbara Wine Country was the big back lot for Sideways. The area offers a range of well-drained soils along with unusual east-west-running mountain ranges that funnel cool ocean air and fog to the vines, moderating temperatures and extending the growing season so that grapes of exceptional balance, ripeness, and flavor result. The county’s four American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) – Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara – produce superb pinot noir, chardonnay, syrah, viognier and other Rhône varietals, along with Bordeaux style varietals that do well in the warmest growing areas, such as Happy Canyon. Wineries in the AVA’s include: Au Bon Climat, Bridlewood Estate Winery, Byron Winery, Cambria Estate Winery, Firestone Vineyard, Foley Estates, Lincourt Vineyards, Sanford Winery, and Qupe.  Tasting tours, picnic spots, outdoor concerts, winemaker dinners, festivals and harvest parties are all part of the bucolic wine country experience.

San Luis Obispo Region

Home to Two Distinct Wine Countries: Paso Robles in the North and Edna Valley in the South

PASO ROBLES WINE COUNTRY NAMED WINE REGION OF THE YEAR BYWINE ENTHUSIAST MAGAZINE!

Wine Enthusiast Magazine has recently announced  the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) has received the honor of being named the 2013 Wine Region of the Year in the magazine’s annual Wine Star Awards. Paso Robles Wine Country, located along California’s famed Central Coast, is midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco with over 200 wineries and 32,000 vineyard acres. The region’s winemakers, growers and industry are ecstatic to be held in the highest regard among some of the world’s greatest wine producing regions with this incredible award.  “Since 1983, when the Paso Robles AVA was first created, the region has grown exponentially with talent, quality and artistry,” said Gary Eberle, owner of Eberle Winery.

In Paso Robles, a long growing season of warm days and cool evenings amongst chalk and limestone hillsides give rise to vibrantly ripened fruit with dynamic flavor profiles. Paso Robles winegrape growing region’s climate is perfect for the production of award-winning premium wines such as JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery, J.Lohr Wines, Clayhouse Wines, Liberty School and Hope Family Wines, and Ancient Peaks Winery. 26,000 vineyard acres in Paso Robles produces more than 40 winegrape varieties – from Spanish to Italian, Bordeaux to Rhône, including the area’s heritage variety Zinfandel. In its sister region in the south, the Edna Valley is known for its gentler, fruitful wines. The cool climate and marine sediment combine to produce the most highly regarded, rich, buttery Chardonnay grapes in California wine country. Edna Valley Vineyard is a great example of the fabulous wines in this region.

Monterey Bay Region

Three Different Experiences Showcase the Unique Qualities of this Region

Monterey County is a stunning 90-mile long AVA influenced by the Blue Grand Canyon ™and Thermal Rainbow™, with distinctive growing regions where 42 varietals thrive. The River Road Wine Trail follows a parallel path to Highway 101 at the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains and is home to over a dozen wineries including Wrath, Talbott Vineyards, Paraiso Vineyards and Pessagno. Country elegance defines the Carmel Valley Wine Trail where Bernardus Winery, Morgan Winery, Chateau Julien and others are walking distance bistros, art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques and hiking trails. Figge Cellars, Scheid Wine Lounge, Galante Vineyards, are located in Carmel-by-the-Sea and historic Cannery Row amid art galleries, fine dining, shopping, pristine beaches and tourist attractions like the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Santa Clara Valley

A Historical and Relaxed Wine Region

It’s easy to forget the “Silicon Valley’s” role as California’s first premium wine production region. Native Americans named it “the Valley of the Heart’s Delight”- and for a good reason. A handful of proud, dedicated, award-winning Winemakers still carry on the ancestor’s traditions of excellence in this region. Often times the person pouring in tasting rooms is the winemaker themselves! Their conveniently situated wineries throughout the Valley highlight the areas best of their numerous varietals enriched by the area’s unique history.

To download maps of the Central Coast, please visit http://www.centralcoast-tourism.com/california-central-coast-maps.html.

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