The Sta.Rita Hills appellation and the region to its west represent an extreme area for winegrowing - a typical day starts with a marine layer of fog that burns off around 10am; then as things warm up, a wind from the Ocean picks up, bringing cooler temperatures, and eventually that marine fog again. These weather patterns produce a very long grape-growing season, producing very well developed flavors and tannins in the resulting wines.
The area is also the bed of an ancient sea, so there are large deposits of diatomaceous earth in and around the vineyards. This limestone produces a discernable edge and minerality in the wines. View all Cargasacchi Wines
About Santa Maria ValleyView a map of Santa Maria Valley wineries
Situated near the ocean in the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley appellation runs east to west. Pacific Ocean air funnels in to cool the vineyards, allowing the grapes to evenly ripen and reach their full potential. This unique climate paired with the region's well-drained soils helps create some sought-after grapes.
Notable FactsPinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most planted varieties in the AVA, which covers over 7,000 acres of land. Syrah is gaining more ground as it consistantly produces outstanding wines. Many vineyards are owned by growers and sold to wineries, so seeing a vineyard name on multiple producer's bottles is common. One of the better known vineyards, Bien Nacido, is found on the labels of some of the most prestigious wines of the area.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.