Paraiso Vineyards in Salinas Valley
Monterey County is the one of the largest wine growing and producing regions in California which is one of the reasons why it was named as one of 2013's "Top Ten Wine Travel Destinations" in the world by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Wine grapes were first introduced in Monterey County well over 200 years ago by the Franciscan Friars near the Soledad Mission in southern Monterey County. They discovered early that the county's climate, featuring midday heat tempered by morning and late-afternoon fog, was perfect for developing the intense fruit character winemakers revere.
The secret to Monterey's viticultural success is the "Blue Grand Canyon," the deep marine canyon located in Monterey Bay. The cold, deep waters of Monterey Bay bring fog and moderate temperatures to the area throughout the growing season, and infuse every drop of Monterey County's wine with an impressive style and structure.
The unique microclimates created by the Blue Grand Canyon have led to ten distinct wine appellations in Monterey County. The rich diversity of growing conditions is reflected by the astounding 42 varietals grown here.
Monterey County Wine Country
Commercial wineries flourished in Monterey beginning in the 1960s. Over time, certain areas of Monterey County have been found to have their own distinct characteristics. Within Monterey County, there are now eight smaller AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), each one with its own unique identity, giving visitors a chance to compare and contrast the types of wine each produces.
Today, approximately 85 vintners and growers are established throughout Monterey County, between them growing over 40,000 acres of wine grapes. Tour the wineries and tasting rooms with the Wine Map provided by the Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association.
Monterey County Wine Events
In such an active wine-growing region, wine events of course abound. Some events include the Monterey Wine Festival in June and the Winemakers' Celebration in August. See our overview of Monterey County's most established annual wine events for more information.