A Tale of Two AVAs – Carneros

From the Golden Gate to the Ram's Gate

This unique area straddles the two giant winemaking regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma. Los Carneros (or “Ram’s Gate”) consists of picturesque rolling hills that were once home to sheep farms and orchards. Los Carneros was settled in the 1840s and the first winery appeared in the 1870s. Prohibition, of course, took its toll on the wine business and a rebirth occurred in the 1960s.

The area now has around 9,000 acres of vineyard and is 50% Chardonnay and 43% Pinot Noir. There are 45 wineries in the AVA, but many Napa and Sonoma wineries purchase grapes from the region for their bottling.

This is the closest AVA to San Francisco, and its proximity to San Pablo Bay makes it more ideal for Chardonnay. It’s cooler than the areas to the north, and it’s also the driest in the region.

There is a limited quantity of topsoil in the soil, which is mostly heavy clay. This arrangement is good since the vines are forced to work harder and produce superior fruit as a result.

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