Santa Cruz Mountains

The Santa Cruz Mountains received their designation as an AVA in 1981. Situated across 322,000 acres, the Santa Cruz Mountains are located between San Francisco and Monterey and contains the sub-appellation Ben Lomond Mountain. Vines are planted at varying elevations throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains between 900 and 2,500 feet above sea level. Soils in the region vary, between clay and Franciscan shale; that is layered over bedrock made of decomposing limestone. The Santa Cruz Mountains feature many different microclimates across its differing terrain and elevations. Vines planted on western slopes take the brunt of Pacific Ocean wind and cold while inland east-facing slopes receive none of the harsh effects of the ocean and are considerably warmer. The cold climate and well-draining soils make the Santa Cruz Mountains a harsh growing area and the vines struggle as a result. This struggle leads to smaller yields of fruit, but a deep condensed flavor in the grapes. The most popular plantings in the Santa Cruz Mountains are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

Map of the Santa Cruz Mountains viticultural area

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