San Luis Obispo
: Edna Valley AVA

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Directly south of the coastal town of San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley won quick fame for its Chardonnays, beginning in the mid 1970s. Edna Valley Vineyards, now part of E. & J. gallo, was the pioneer, and the principal wine company is Niven Family Wine Estates (the Nivens founded Edna Valley Vineyards), producer of Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker, and other labels. The AVA also claims Alban Vineyards, established by rhône ranger John Alban whose finest Syrahs, Grenaches, and Viogniers are sold strictly via mailing list. Gewürztraminer has also done well, but it is not widely planted. Pinot Noir has been variable. Low hills on three sides give the small valley a soup-tureen shape, allowing it to collect moisture-laden air from the Pacific, making fungal diseases a frequent threat despite low rainfall. Cool, even temperatures and fog cover result in a very long growing season, often 50% longer than Burgundy.