AVA Update: SLO to Be Recognized

November 27, 2019

Andrew Chalk

Ask the American wine consumer to describe San Luis Obispo wine and they will likely tell you about the Paso Robles AVA, its pioneering role in growing Rhône varieties, its first class cabernet sauvignon, and the large number of startup wineries experimenting with pinot noir and any number of specialized grapes. But they may miss is the important work being done ‘over the grade’, on the other side of the Santa Lucia Mountains, in the southern part of the county adjacent to the Pacific Coast.

That is the preserve of the SLO Coast Wine Collective (the Collective) and the 30 wineries (out of 35 in the area) that are members. At the moment, ‘SLO Coast’ is a marketing slogan and a battle cry but the intention is to enshrine the area’s distinctiveness in an umbrella “SLO Coast” AVA. It would include the part of San Luis Obispo within five-ten miles of the Pacific Ocean. The SLO Coast is overlaid on two existing AVAs, Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley. Some of the proposed AVA would be SLO County land that is currently not in either of those two smaller AVAs. In the interim, the Collective focuses on getting the SLO Coast better known among consumers and beverage professionals.

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