The Central Coast AVA in California covers the long stretch of coastline from San Francisco Bay south to Santa Barbara, and reaches inland from the Pacific Ocean to the borders of the Central Valley. The climate and topography vary enormously across this immense region, making it impossible to generalize about winegrowing conditions. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the most important grapes planted in the region, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc make up a sizable chunk of the wines produced here.
Running for approximately 280 miles (450km) from Contra Costa County to the Santa Ynez Valley, the Central Coast AVA covers some of California’s most famous AVAs outside of Napa and Sonoma counties, including Paso Robles, Chalone, Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Maria Valley. The rugged, mountainous topography of the area has been brought about by years of tectonic shift, and the famous San Andreas Fault cuts much of the AVA off from the rest of the United States. The Santa Lucia Mountains, the Galiban Range and the Santa Cruz Mountains all run through this part of California.