The wineries of SLO Wine Country boast an average distance of just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in prevailing marine conditions that are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California.
SLO Wine Country includes two small adjoining American Viticultural Areas—the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley—and other nearby winegrowing areas. Each of these areas shares a unifying proximity to the ocean, as well as to each other. Collectively, these growing conditions forge a unifying wine quality that is native to SLO Wine Country:
The reliable cooling effect of the nearby Pacific Ocean ensures a long growing season, enabling the grapes to achieve physiological ripeness and natural balance. Cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir excel in the heart of SLO Wine Country, and even the warmest areas benefit from considerable marine influence.
The ocean proximity also exerts a moderating effect on the climate, minimizing temperature swings so that growing conditions are rarely hot or cold. The result is an extraordinarily steady growing season that fosters balanced ripening and consistent quality from vintage to vintage.
The imprint of the ocean is also evident in SLO Wine Country's uncommonly complex soils, which are frequently riddled with ancient sea fossils. Soil variation enables the winegrower to mix and match varietals to specific soil profiles, or to add more "colors" to the palette of a single varietal, heightening overall quality and complexity.