California Shenandoah Valley received its designation as an AVA in 1982. Situated on 10,000 acres, California Shenandoah Valley is located in Amador and El Dorado Counties. The region is at the lowest elevation of all Sierra Foothills growing regions. The soil is largely made up of decomposed granite and sandy loam. This type of soil is well drained and infertile, which causes the vines to develop deep roots to find water. This feature helped many of the old vine Zinfandel grapes survive from before Prohibition when the region was heavily planted with vineyards. The climate is very dry and hot during the peak of growing season, resulting in a smaller production yield from the vines but a more heavily concentrated fruit. The region is famous for having some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in California but also produces Barbera and Sangiovese.
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