With vineyards dating back to the 1800s, Carmel Valley is a rugged, rustic California winegrowing region west of Monterey and Pebble Beach.
Carmel Valley received its designation as an American Viticultural Area in 1983 and encompasses more than 19,000 acres, with about 300 of those acres under cultivation. The vineyards are predominantly within Carmel Valley proper and the Cachagua Valley.
Cachagua Valley’s unique mountainous setting sits high above the fog line along the coast, and exposes the grapes to a warmer overall climate. Average summer temperatures can reach into the 100s, with cool evenings often seeing the low 30s and 40s.
This dramatic swing in temperature extends the ripening time and growing season, allowing the grapes a slow maturation process that accommodates complexity in the fruit and the wine.
The vineyards in the Carmel Valley AVA are planted mostly on mountainous terrain, with the highly prized San Andreas Fine Sandy Loam and the Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam soils being predominant.
These soil types provide ideal drainage and allow for optimal airflow through the root system. They require minimal amounts of supplemental irrigation by the grower, and the results are healthy, vibrant grapes.
The Carmel Valley’s terrain and climate are ideal for creating rich, full-bodied wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot comprise more than 70 percent of the grapes grown in the district. In addition, new vineyards in the valley are utilizing various microclimates within the AVA to plant Burgundian varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.