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Mendocino County Wine Region

Carrying the Quality Winegrowing Regions!

Mendocino County, which is located in California, is representing the northern parts of the quality wine regions of the U.S. state.

The reason I took Mendocino County for discussion is mainly due to the presence of more than ten AVAs within it.

And yes, this county is the home to the very famous Anderson Valley too. Being one of the largest wine growing regions in the Californian state, this county is having almost 15,000 acres of vineyard area.
Wine grape varieties
This county is well appreciated for the diversity of wines produced. Now, let’s see all about the viticulture and viniculture in the popular Mendocino County here…

Past and Present of Viticulture in Mendocino County

The history of viticulture in Mendocino County can be dated back to the 1800s during the times of the California Gold Rush.

The first vineyards of the Mendocino County were planted in the Redwood Valley with most of the winery operations being small.

The region had a complete wipe-out of vine cultivation during the early part of the 20th century due to the enactment of Prohibition in the U.S. Until the later part of the 1960’s, Parducci was found to be the sole commercial winery here.

From the year 1968, viticulture started booming in this region with new winegrowing terroirs being discovered every year. With the continuous efforts taken by the winegrowers of California, the Mendocino County was transformed into one of the largest wine regions in the whole California.

Vineyards of Mendocino County

Almost all the vineyards of Mendocino County are found to be located in the southern parts of the county and are found to be leaning towards the inland areas unlike the vineyards of several other regions that tend to lean towards the coast.

The whole Mendocino County can be divided into two distinct zones based on the climate.

They are the Pacific Coast range and the inland area. The inland area of the Mendocino County is protected from the cooling effects of the ocean by the Mendocino Range and is therefore found to be warm and dry.

This area is classified as Region I and Region III respectively in the Anderson Valley and Amerine and Winkler climate classification scales.

Alcohol and Distilleries

Wines and Wine Regions in Mendocino County

It is to be noted that the Mendocino County is one among the leading vine cultivating regions for organically grown vines.

As much as 25% of the total vineyard area of Mendocino County is found to be producing organic wine grapes.

A total number of 263 wines is found to be designated as Mendocino County wines at present. These include 76 whites, 175 reds, 5 roses, 2 fortified wines, and 5 dessert wines.

In general, the wines from the Mendocino County are described as cost-effective! This is not because these wines are of low quality but due to the lesser popularity of the wines when compared to their southern counterparts.

The American Viticultural Areas within the county are:

  • Mendocino AVA
  • Mendocino Ridge AVA,
  • Anderson Valley AVA
  • Cole Ranch AVA
  • Covelo AVA
  • Dos Rios AVA
  • McDowell Valley AVA
  • Potter Valley AVA
  • Redwood Valley AVA
  • Yorkville Highlands AVA

Grape Varieties of Mendocino County

Chardonnay is the major grape variety of the county and is found to be planted in about 4,300 acres of land.

Following Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are found to be the key grape varieties in Mendocino County.

The other important grape varieties of this region are:

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Zinfandel
  • Petite Sirah
  • Syrah
  • Barbera
  • Merlot
  • Carignane

It has been found that the climate and geography of the county allows a wide variety of wine grape plantation thereby accounting for almost 62,000 tons of grapes being got every year from this region alone.

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Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam


I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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