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Our Viticultural Region --


See also our Good Neighbor policy and Our Vineyard Year

The term "appellation" is French and refers to a viticultural region that, by virtue of its similar geographical features and climate, produces wines with similar characteristics. This implies Wine Bottle & Glassthat the influence of soil, climate, sun, water quality, and landscape -- what the French call "terroir" -- produce a style of wine that cannot be exactly duplicated elsewhere.  An appellation area can range from very small plots of land to huge areas that cover hundreds of miles.


Appellations in California are called "American Viticultural Areas" or AVAs. Wines carrying a label identifying its AVA must contain a minimum of 85% grapes from that AVA.  Some Napa and Sonoma wines today do contain Sierra Foothills grapes, to add complexity to their wines, but in quantities that allow them to retain their Sonoma or Napa appellation.


The Sierra Foothills appellation stretches from Yuba County in the north to Mariposa County in the south on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.  It is described as an exciting and up-and-coming appellation.  Yet vineyards were first planted here during the goldrush days.  This whole area is mostly known for its ripe, chocolately Zinfandels.  But today many other varietals are successfully grown here.