Just a couple of miles east from downtown San Luis Obispo is the Edna Valley where large tracks of premium vineyards blanket the gentle rolling hills. A couple of wineries here make over 100,000 cases and have great visitor facilities, but most are small boutique operations inviting guests to a more personal experience.
A few miles further east is the narrow agricultural basin of Arroyo Grande Valley where peppers, zucchini, spinach, lemons and avocados share the land with the cool variety wine grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Fifteen wineries are located within the region’s two American Viticultural Areas (AVA).
Edna Valley encompasses 35 square miles on the Central Coast and has been described as “The Burgundy of the Pacific” with concentration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards. Long fingers of fog funnel cool ocean air from Los Osos and Morro Bay into the valley at night cooling the vineyards from the daytime heat.
Soils in the Edna Valley are generally clay-rich on the valley floor and thin sandstone and sandy clay loams on the hillsides. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir make up most of the plantings with Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Merlot also grown in the area. Check out Baileyana, Edna Valley Vineyards or Claiborne & Churchill.
The Arroyo Grande Valley is a 16-mile-long valley in San Luis Obispo County that opens directly to the Pacific Ocean. Coastal fog and breezes make it one of the coolest and most temperate viticultural areas in California. These conditions result in a long and mild growing season, with bud break typically occurring in mid-February, flowering in early May and harvest in late September.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive in the region and distinctive sparkling wines are produced from fruit grown in the cooler western part of the valley. As you head inland beyond the fog line, temperatures get warmer and Rhone varieties flourish. At higher elevations excellent Zinfandel can be found.↑ Less