This massive AVA on the eastern side of Monterey County encompasses the entire Salinas Valley, as well as part of Carmel Valley. The Salinas Valley, affectionately known as ‘America’s salad bowl’, is one of the country’s most important agricultural assets, and hosts the majority of Monterey County’s large viticultural businesses. The valley is a funnel, with its mouth opening onto Monterey Bay. Here, fog rolls in between the Santa Lucia and Gabilan mountain ranges. The fog cools the valley early in the morning, while at midday a cool blast of wind sweeps through. Daytime temperatures rarely exceed 75 F., except in the southernmost reaches and in specific microclimates tucked into hillsides. With scant annual rainfall and predominately sandy soils, the valley would be arid if not for the irrigation from the Salinas River. One of the world’s longest growing seasons gives the Monterey AVA characterful wines with balanced acidity.
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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