Mendocino County, the northernmost of California's coastal regions established its wine identity in the 1970s. The majority of Mendocino's vines are cultivated in warm climates with the one noteworthy exception being the Anderson Valley, which runs southeast away from the Pacific and enjoys a cooling marine influence and longer growing season. Planted to cool-climate varieties, the Anderson Valley accounts for less than 10% of Mendocino's total wine production, but it is probably the county's best-known region, followed by the inland Redwood Valley.
Varietals Grown in the Mendocino
Historically, the vast majority of Mendocino County grapes were Carignane and Colombard; grown in the Redwood Valley, they were destined to be consumed out of jugs. By the mid-1970s, however, Mendocino's reputation began to improve with the success of ripe, brawny Zinfandels, powerful Cabernets, and muscular Petite Sirahs. Today, Chardonnay is the most widely planted variety, followed by Zinfandel, Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.