By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau earlier this month designated the San Luis Obispo Coast, also referred to as SLO Coast, as an American Viticultural Area (AVA).
An AVA is a region with a climate and topography that enables the production of a particular variety of wine-making grapes. The SLO Coast AVA consists of an approximately 15-mile wide region bordering the San Luis Obispo County coastline, stretching from the Santa Barbara County line to the Monterey County Line.
The region includes the existing Arroyo Grande Valley and Edna Valley AVAs in South County. It neighbors the Paso Robles and York Mountain AVAs in North County.
A total of 78 vineyards and 3,942 planted acres are located in the SLO Coast AVA. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the leading wines produced in the region, but other offerings include Albarino, Riesling, Grenache, Zinfadel and Syrah.
“We are one of the coldest spots to grow grapes because we are so close to the Pacific Ocean,” SLO Coast Wine president Stephen Dooley said in a statement. “What makes this area interesting is the low temperatures coupled with a lot of sunlight. Cool preserves acid, and in grapes like Pinot Noir, the sun helps with pigment, color and tannin.”
More than 30 wineries make up the SLO Coast Wine Collective, which sought to develop the San Luis Coast AVA. Wine producers in the new AVA can now place “San Luis Obispo Coast” on their labels.
“When you’re selling wine in Boston or when the wine is on a shelf somewhere in the Midwest, consumers will better understand where in California these wines come from.”