Are you looking for great scenery, wonderful cuisine and lots of sites to see? Great tasting wines come with the territory and you are welcome to Monterey Wine Country. Monterey County produces complex, balanced and somewhat pampered wines. Whether you choose a classic Chardonnay or Riesling, an elegant Pinot Noir and Merlot, a rich Cabernet or a Syrah you will agree that Monterey Wine Country and her vintners have much to offer.
Monterey has nine unique winegrowing regions and some 85 vintners. You will also find nearly 30 tasting rooms that open to the public. When you make your way down the California Wine Trails, with Monterey as your destination, you will be able to enjoy some of California’s fine products of the vine as well as take in some of most beautiful scenery California has to offer. So enjoy a little mental journey to Monterey as your read of her wine trail other pleasures that await your arrival.
A bit of History – Two Hundred Years Ago Franciscan friars, in the Spanish mission of Soledad California, planted the first crop of wine grapes. Those vines withered and sadly, no trace remains today of what was to become more than 40,000 acres planted in vineyards.
Rediscovered – It was not until the early 1960’s that the full potential of Monterey County, as a wine-producing region. In 1960 Professor A.J. Winkler, a viticulture authority from the University of California at Davis, published a report classifying grape growing districts by climate. Monterey County was classified as Region I and II, comparable with the premium regions of Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy and Bordeaux. This discovery came at an opportune time. The demand for table wines had been steadily increasing, and established wineries had begun to seek out new land for their vineyards.
So the stage was set and the plantings of vineyards began. Among these were Wente, Mirassou, Paul Masson, J. Lohr and Chalone. From those early beginnings, Monterey Wine Country has grown to more than 45,000 acres planted in vineyards varying in size from sixty to several thousand acres. Today Monterey Wine Country is one of the largest premium wine grape growing regions in California worth over $200 million. All grapes grown in Monterey County are wine grapes; there are no table grapes or grapes sold for juice. Wines from these vineyards have unique qualities that make them easily distinguishable from those produced elsewhere in California or the world. All have intense varietal flavor, which means the true taste of the grape is reflected in the wine.
In Monterey County, Chardonnay is an especially important grape as it comprises 40% of total grape acreage. Chardonnay grapes from Monterey County vineyards have become especially prized by winemakers throughout the state. Currently, the northern areas of the county are heavily planted in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc. In the warmer southern areas, red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon (the second largest variety), Merlot and Zinfandel are common. The remarkable grapes which Monterey Wine Country produces some very distinctive wines. The uniqueness of these wines is the result of three key elements – the land itself, the near-perfect climate and the blend of traditional and innovative methods used by growers and winemakers.
Well take a peek at some of the wineries that call Monterey Wine County home. After that take a quick look at you schedule and plan a trip to Monterey Wine County. Enjoy her wines and all the beauty that Monterey Wine Trails have to offer. Do you have a favorite Monterey Wine Country wine or Winery? Please tell us about. Even better, we hope to see you there!
Do you have a favorite Monterey or Carmel winery? Why not share?
Hope to see you there!