The proposed Eagle Peak Mendocino County viticultural area is another region proposed by Ralph Jens Carter. In the process of creating Eagle Peak, Mr. Carter proposed editing the already existing Mendocino and Redwood Valley appellations so all three viticultural areas were separated with no overlapping territory.
Eagle Peak Mendocino County is so named as there are nearly fifty “Eagle Peak”s throughout the United States. Mendocino County was added to the proposed name to clarify its location.
The area is slightly over 26,000 acres in size of which 120 are under vine in 16 commercial vineyards and surrounds the summit of Eagle Peak. The rocks in the area are mostly shale and sandstones from the Franciscan Complex which are found on rolling to steep, unstable slopes and terraces. These rocks tend to be high in nickel and magnesium which can have negative impacts on grape vines. Fortunately, the soils are thin and rocky allowing for the optimum canopy to maximize sunlight exposure. Thin soils on steep slopes are subject to erosion but hold enough moisture to avoid the use of irrigation until after the period of fast growth called “grand growth stage”.
The elevations in the viticultural area range from 800-3,320 feet which protect vineyards on the high slopes from frost by allowing cool air and excess water to drain into the surrounding valleys. The south facing slopes are largely south facing giving the vineyards.
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