Approximately 17 million years ago, the San Luis Obispo Coast was forged by the collision of the Pacific and Continental plates…
which uplifted an abundance of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, shale and limestone, as well as a variety of marine fossils. Petrified oyster shells the size of softballs have been found in local vineyards, while the region’s distinctive morros such as Islay Peak reveal a pronounced volcanic influence.
These relatively young soils, geologically speaking, are lean and shallow, quickly yielding to hard bedrock below. Such soil attributes bring beneficial stress to the region’s grapevines, producing fruit with inherent balance and intensity.
The closer to the coastline, the more varied and complex the soils become. Because the wineries of SLO Wine Country are so uniquely proximate to the ocean, they enjoy access to a wide range of soil types, often within the same vineyard.
- Young soils are prevalent in the SLO Coast region, and they are more mixed and complex than older soils
- Sedimentary marine rocks such as limestone, sandstone and shale abound in SLO Wine Country, resulting in shallow, gravelly soils that yield to sloping bedrock
- Lower elevations in Coastal SLO Wine Country feature deeper alluvial soils that are well drained, fostering intense color and flavor in the fruit