The Santa Clara Valley, better known to the world as "Silicon Valley", has one of the richest histories in California viticulture. Urban sprawl has forced most of the valley’s wine industry to migrate to its southern extremes, particularly to the Hecker Pass area. Notable exceptions are J. Lohr and Mirrassou, both of which continue to maintain a presence, if not extensive vineyards, in San Jose. Some other notable producers continue to make highly structured and sought after red wines from increasingly rare vineyards located on the western edge of the AVA in the foothills of the Santa Cruz range. The valley is largely protected from the influence of the Pacific Ocean by the Santa Cruz Mountains, although coastal breezes that enter a small opening at Hecker Pass in the west and the wider Pajaro Pass to the south help to moderate the climate. Although much of the Santa Clara Valley wine production is purchased locally, the quality of its wine deserves more wide spread recognition. The Santa Clara Valley also encompasses the Pacheco Pass AVA, and the winery deficient San Ysidro AVA in its southeast corner.
Since Thomas Jefferson first tried to cultivate European vinifera in Virginia, the state has been a decided piece of American wine country. Over the years better knowledge, equipment and materials have all contributed to an advancing wine industry, but the more recent decade or two has brought out the real potential that can be found.
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