' A Taste of Monterey - Appellations San Bernabe

San Bernabe

San Bernabe is the most centrally located AVA within Monterey County. Although this region received its AVA designation in 2004, its history dates back to 1776 when Father Pedro Font named the area after St. Barnabas. In 1842, Petronillo Rios, a cattle rancher, was the first to produce a bottle wine from locally grown grapes.

Since then, of the 25,000 acres designated in this AVA, over 5,000 acres have been cultivated, producing wines reflective of their terroir. In San Bernabe, multiple microclimates can be found, with temperatures varying 5 degrees Fahrenheit from one end of a vineyard to the other. In some cases, this results in certain grape blocks ripening up to one month before others within the same vineyard. The average annual temperature closely resembles that of vineyards in Napa Valley. However, due to the variance of warm days and cool evenings, the growing season can be up to four weeks longer. Various forms of irrigation are needed due to the limited amount of rainfall received during the year.

The vineyards are grown on an unusual composition of Aeolian soil – a type of sand dune composition not usually found in grape growing environments. Sandy soils provide little water retention and thus allow for excellent drainage. This, combined with modern irrigation techniques, provides the grapegrower with tools to adjust the vigor and quality of the fruit, producing, rich full-bodied wines with complex and mature aromas. The San Bernabe appellation grows more than 20 varietals including Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

Name of AVA: San Bernabe
AVA Approval: 2004
Acres Planted: 5,000
Climate: Moderate, partially sheltered from breezes.
Dominant Soils: Garey Sandy Loam, Oceano Loamy Sand, Lockwood Shaly Loam
Min/Max Elevations: 266ft/1,670ft

AVA Map | Monterey | Arroyo Seco | Carmel Valley | Chalone | Hames Valley
San Antonio Valley | San Bernabe | San Lucas | Santa Lucia Highlands