The York Mountain AVA was established in 1984, and is one of four distinct AVAs in San Luis Obispo County along with Arroyo Grande Valley, Edna Valley, and Paso Robles. Together the four AVAs comprise over 600,000 acres of planted vineyards, and over 200 wineries for locals and visitors to explore and enjoy.
Like the Edna Valley AVA, grapes were first planted in York Mountain in the 1800’s, but by very different people: grapes in the Edna Valley have a long history with the Spanish Mission in SLO, while it was a British immigrant who planted the first vines in York Mountain.
Andrew York was that British immigrant, and he planted the first vineyards in York Mountain in the 1870’s. By 1882 York established Ascension Winery with those grapes, which became the first winery on the Central Coast. Ascension Winery eventually became York Mountain Winery, and stayed part of the York family until 1970.
Today the York Mountain AVA remains one of the most well respected wine-growing regions, and three wineries continue to call the region home where they produce some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir that should not be missed on a wine tasting weekend to SLO County.
WINE TASTING IN YORK MOUNTAIN AVA
There are many incredible wines that have come out of the York Mountain AVA, and several of the vineyards have tasting rooms on their properties that are open to the public for wine tasting and events.
To help plan your next trip to the York Mountain AVA we have curated a list of the vineyard tasting rooms where you can enjoy and explore the world class varietals crafted right here in SLO County.
If you can’t make it to the vineyards check out Paso Robles’s Food & Drink Page to see the wine bars, off-site tasting rooms, and restaurants that feature York Mountain AVA wines!
VINEYARD TASTING ROOMS
Epoch Estate Wines
7505 York Mountain Rd, Templeton, CA 93465
8345 Green Valley Rd, Templeton, CA 93465
Rocky Creek Cellars
8687 Apple Rd, Templeton, CA 93465
The York Mountain AVA is located on the western edge of the Paso Robles AVA, tucked in between the Santa Lucia Mountain Range to the west and the Adelaida, Willow Creek, and Templeton Gap Districts to the east. The AVA is the smallest of all the AVAs at 6,400 acres, but one of the oldest wine growing regions on the central coast with its first vines planted by Andrew York in the 1870s.
The topography of the AVA is mountainous given its location high in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range (the lowest point of elevation in the AVA is at 1,512’ and the highest 1,678’), but the climate is heavily influenced by the Pacific Ocean. York Mountain sits at the opening of what is known as the Templeton Gap, which is a series of breaks in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range that allows coastal breezes and marine fog into the York Mountain and Paso Robles AVAs.
The high elevation and coastal influences result in long, warm days throughout the AVA, and significantly cooler nights that see fog and marine air flow through the Templeton Gap. However, these growing conditions actually strengthen the grapes, and result in a more balanced fruit with the right acidity and varietal character to craft the best wines possible.
The quality of wine grapes grown in this region is further enhanced by the soil, which primarily consists of chalky limestone. Soil made primarily of limestone is very rocky, which tends to cause stress in the vines and actually reduces the yield of grapes, but that is the goal for winemaking. The lower yield (and limited vigor) result in a much more concentrated wine, and allow for the production of the bold reds coming out of this region.
These growing conditions combined have led to world-class wines produced from York Mountain grapes, and locals and tourists alike can visit three of the vineyards to taste the popular Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah varietals crafted here.
*during growing season