York Mountain’s history and terroir have earned it a sizeable reputation, even though it is home to just one winery and a half dozen vineyards. One of California’s smallest AVAs, York Mountain nestles among oak trees on the eastern slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains, west of the large Paso Robles AVA. York Mountain gained AVA status in 1983 through the petitioning of Stephen and Max Goldman, who at the time were the owners of the York Mountain Winery. York Mountain represents one of the finest examples of a unique grape growing climate in California. The region, only seven miles from the Pacific Ocean, is significantly cooler and wetter than neighboring Paso Robles. Vineyards in the appellation are situated at an average of 1,500 feet and benefit from low-vigor soil, steep slopes, long sunshine hours and cool coastal breezes. In 2001, Martin & Weinrich became only the third owners of the York Mountain Winery, which dates back to 1882. The new owners have a solid reputation in the local wine community, and are actively planting significant vineyard acreage in the appellation. Shadow Canyon Vineyards, growers of highly regarded Syrah, use a production facility in nearby Santa Maria to produce wines with the York Mountain AVA on its labels. Stephen Goldman, the original petitioner for the AVA, continues to make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines highlighting the specific terroir of the region and sourcing fruit from his own and neighboring vineyards within the AVA. The future bodes well for this appellation hidden in the Pacific mist.
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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