Manton Valley AVA resides in the far northeastern regions of the upper Sacramento Valley of California. Not large at just 9,841 acres, yet at elevations between 2000 and 3500 feet. This is volcanic country just west of Mt Lassen. The southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range meets the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range around here. This area is very different from the Sierra Foothills AVA much farther to the south.
28 differing volcanic soils dominate the region. These soils are very different from those found on the Sacramento Valley floor to the west and work to keep vine yields low and concentrated. Underlying those soils are three major formations; Tuscan, Chico and Red Bluff. It is the Tuscan formation that serves to create an aquifer in the Battle Creek watershed providing dependable year round water to the AVA. The Chico formation is marine sedimentary from when this region of California was under water and is the aspect that creates the varied soils
Roughly 200 acres are currently planted at approval of the AVA. 6 wineries exist as well as several independant growers, with the 95 acre Dobson Vineyards the largest. Chardonnay from Dobson was shipped to Hopland for Fezter in past years. The wine region is clustered to the Forward Road corridor east of Manton, CA.
Viticulture may have been present earlier but it was not until 1971-72 when the Dobson Vineyard was planted that the modern day presence of wine grapes became a reality. The vineyard floors in Manton Valley often are red, very red, and reflect their origins.
The climate of the upper Sacramento Valley is warm and often hot, especially in the Redding - Red Bluff section. The elevation of Manton Valley AVA brings some daytime relief but 100+(F) days are common in the lower sections. Evening cool air from Mt Lassen flows down and drops morning temperatures into the mid to upper 50's(F) allowing for acid retention in ripening fruit.
Besides legendary Zinfandel, Amador County has taken to Rhone, Italian and Iberian variety wines with laudable results. Now the Amador 4 Fires brings the foods of those regions to an open flame to explore a total experience
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