The SLO Coast: California’s Newest AVA, and Perhaps its Most Extreme – Wine & Spirits Magazine

The SLO Coast: California’s Newest AVA, and Perhaps its Most Extreme


Courtesy of Dan Fredman
California’s newest appellation, the San Luis Obispo Coast, takes the state’s identity as a coastal winegrowing region to the very edge of possibility. The new AVA, also known as the SLO Coast, hugs beachfront property from Big Sur to Santa Maria, running west of most existing AVAs (though it encompasses two well-established appellations on its southern flank, the Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys—home to Talley, Baileyana, Laetitia, Stephen Ross, and Alban Vineyards, to name a few).
Courtesy of Dan Fredman

Twenty-five years ago, no one would have dreamed of considering an AVA in this stretch of coastline. With its foggy, windy, excessively cool temperatures, the area held few prospects for the support of vineyards outside of a few protected sites. But vineyards have indeed taken hold on barren fogbound hillsides, for some of the coolest, most extreme vineyard land in the state. Much new planting is being established just north of Pismo Beach, on the hills overlooking Cambria and Cayucos. That is where Stolo Vineyards, Bassetti Vineyards, Bassi Vineyard, and Rajat Parr’s new project, Phelan Farm, are found, just miles from the beach.

Patrick J. Comiskey covers US wines for Wine & Spirits magazine, focusing on the Pacific Northwest, California’s Central Coast and New York’s Finger Lakes.


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