The San Juan Creek District is one of the 11 sub-districts that make up the Paso Robles AVA. Established in 2014, San Juan Creek is located in the eastern half of the AVA, and shares its southern border with the Highlands District below.
Originally called San Juan Valley, the area is now known as the San Juan Creek for the creek that runs through the valley floor near the district’s eastern border.
Similar to many of the Paso Robles AVA sub-districts, San Juan Creek is known for its Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons, but also produces several Southern Rhône varieties, like Syrah, that should not be missed.
Today the San Juan Creek District is an integral piece of the larger Paso Robles AVA, and with over 200 wineries in Paso’s wine country there are endless ways to experience the world class wines being crafted every day here on California’s Central Coast. However, there are unfortunately no vineyards in the San Juan Creek District that are open to the public for wine tasting and events, but this doesn’t mean you need to skip these wines on your next trip to the Central Coast!
Varietals by wineries based in the San Juan Creek District can be found in several restaurants, wine bars, and even grocery stores, and offer a glimpse into the differences that define the region.
Make sure to check out Paso Robles’s Food & Drink Page to see the wine bars, more tasting rooms, and restaurants that feature San Juan Creek District wines!
San Juan Creek District is located in the eastern half of the Paso Robles AVA, with the vast majority of the land overlapping the city of Shandon.
The northern border falls just above Highway 46, while Shedd Canyon Road defines the bulk of its western border, and Shandon San Juan Road its east. The southern border runs from where Shedd Road meets Highway 41, and cuts across the valley towards the Temblor Range where it connects with the “tail” of the district – a skinny ten-mile stretch that follows Navajo Creek all the way to Sandy Canyon.
The entire southern border sits directly above the Highlands District, both of which end at the border for the broader Paso Robles AVA to the east.
Like the Highlands District, San Juan Creek also sees its vineyards planted at some of the highest elevations, but is relatively flat given it’s geographical location on the valley floor between mountain ranges (including the “tail”). San Juan Creek actually sees less than 100’ change in elevation between its highest and lowest points, which fall at 1,192’ and 1,105’ respectively.
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The climate in this heightened elevation tends to have more characteristics of the valley in California, with limited rainfall and higher temperatures defining its growing season. It is also protected from coastal weather influences by the Santa Lucia and Temblor Mountain ranges, unlike many of the western districts that make up the Paso Robles AVA.
The soil in these higher elevations don’t always lend themselves to grape growing (the Highlands District even sees cemented subsoils), but San Juan Creek has high amounts of sandy loam and sandy clay, and even gravel on the higher and older alluvial fans. These types of soils allow for good drainage and moderate root depth aiding in the production of excellent wines.
Although San Juan Creek is quite different from other districts in the Paso Robles AVA, they too produce many of the red wines the region is known for. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are two of the most popular varietals, but the Rhône style reds crafted here are not to be missed either!
during growing season
ABOUT THE PASO ROBLES AVA
Paso Robles’s AVA was established in 1983, and at the time encompassed approximately 614,000 acres across the cities of Paso Robles, Templeton, San Miguel Creston, Shandon, and Santa Margarita in northern SLO County.
At almost three times the size of Napa Valley’s AVA, Paso Robles remained the largest single AVA in California until 2014 when 11 sub-districts were established. Although the larger boundary did not change, these new districts provided a more nuanced understanding of the growing regions within the Paso Robles AVA, and the wines that could be successfully crafted.
Today the distinct terroir profiles (or growing conditions) of the eleven districts contribute to the production of over 40 varietals (the vast majority crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon, Roussanne, Zinfandel, Viognier, Merlot, and Syrah), and home to over 200 wineries for locals and tourists to enjoy and explore.
Learn more about the eleven districts below, and make sure to plan your next wine tasting weekend in Paso Robles’s Wine Country!