Introduction to California's Central Coast Wine Producing Regions

Central Coast

[Central Coast Map Picture] California's Central Coast. A lot of changes are underway in this area. In Santa Barbara County there is a LOT of planting going on, while up in Paso Robles there a number of new wineries open and a quite a few in the application process. There are a number of American Viticultural Areas approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms as official U.S. wine appellations in this region: Central Coast, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Paso Robles, York Mountain, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley.

[Sanford Winery Picture] Just off Rt. 101, north of Santa Barbara is the Buellton/Solvang exit. This is pretty much the center of the southern portion of the Central Coast wine region. This area has some amazing Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs. You can also find cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, sauvignon blanc, pinot blanc, gewutztraminer, some Italian varietals and the only sylvaner I've found made in the US. Also of interest are some nice late harvest dessert wines. Along with the various winery tasting rooms there are two independent rooms in Los Olivos, Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium and the Los Olivos Tasting Room. They have the wines of a number of the smaller winemakers in the area such as Lane Tanner, Qupé, Au Bon Climat, Chimere, Ojai and more, who don't have their own tasting rooms.

[Talley Winery Picture] Heading up 101 north, you hit two more areas that produce some wonderful wines. First you encounter the Edna Valley/Arroyo Grande Valley wineries including the likes of Claibourne & Churchill, Edna Valley Vineyards, Talley, Laetitia, Seven Peaks and more. This area produdes a wide variety of interesting wines. Further north there are a number of nice wineries centered in Paso Robles. This is the center of the northern portion of the Central Coast wine region. This area's best are probably their zinfandel although they also produce nice Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a growing number of Italian varietals. Further north you'll encounter a wine region around Monterey and Santa Cruz.

Central Coast Wine Touring Guide

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Regional Introductions

Mendocino & Lake Counties - Sonoma County - Napa Valley - Livermore Valley - Santa Cruz Mountain, Santa Clara & Monterey - Sierra Foothills and the California Central Valley - Central Coast - Temecula and San Diego County

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