A True California Wine AVA
The Sta Rita Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) is a wine-growing region located in Santa Barbara County, California. The cool climate, marine influence, and diverse soil types create ideal growing conditions for a variety of grape varietals, including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) officially recognized the Sta Rita Hills AVA in 2001, encompassing over 30,000 acres of land. The region is located on the western edge of Santa Barbara County, with the Santa Ynez Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The unique microclimate of the AVA is created by the combination of cool ocean breezes and morning fog that rolls in from the Pacific, which helps to moderate the temperature and preserve the acidity in the grapes. According to the Santa Barbara Vintners Association (SVBA), “The maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains create a unique and ideal climate for growing high-quality cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.”
The Soils of Sta Rita Hills AVA
The soil in the Sta Rita Hills AVA is also diverse, with a mix of clay, loam, and sandy soils. The western part of the AVA primarily consists of clay soils, while the eastern part mainly features loam and sandy soils. This diversity of soil types enables the growth of a wide range of grape varietals, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Riesling. According to the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, “The soils of the Sta. Rita Hills are diverse, with a mix of clay, loam and sandy soils that provide the ideal conditions for growing a wide range of varietals.”
Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Rule Sta Rita Hills AVA
In the Sta Rita Hills AVA, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate as the most commonly grown grape varietals. Chardonnay accounts for approximately 40% of the total acreage, while Pinot Noir accounts for approximately 30%. The Chardonnays grown in this AVA are praised for their bright acidity and minerality, and the Pinot Noirs are admired for their complexity, balance, and elegance. According to the Wine Enthusiast, “Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of the Sta. Rita Hills, with many wineries focusing on these varietals and making some of California’s most compelling examples.”
The AVA is home to over 50 wineries, many of which are small, family-owned operations. These wineries are dedicated to producing high-quality, terroir-driven wines that showcase the unique character of the region. According to Santa Barbara Vintners Association, “The Sta. Rita Hills is home to over 50 wineries, many family-owned, dedicated to producing high-quality, terroir-driven wines that showcase the region.”
In conclusion, the Sta Rita Hills AVA is a unique and special place in California. Well respected and known for producing high-quality, terroir-driven wines, especially Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The region’s cool climate, marine influence, and diverse soil types contribute to the unique character of the wines produced. The Sta Rita Hills AVA is definitely a wine lover’s paradise.
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