Region and Climate
Mount Eden’s larger home is the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation. It is American’s first mountain AVA—recognized in 1981—with winegrowing dating back to the 1860’s. The appellation encompasses the Santa Cruz Mountain range, with boundaries defined by the elevation of the fog levels at daybreak in the spring and summer months, typically, between 600 to 1000 feet. Those vineyards above the fog are dryer and see abundant sunlight; while below this line vineyards are compromised by the cooler moist conditions. Mount Eden’s estate vineyards are at 2,000 feet.
In California, winegrowing climates are controlled primarily by the Pacific Ocean—the closer a vineyard is to the coast, the cooler the daytime high will be. This is important in giving the vines an even and slow ripening environment, especially with the sensitive French varietals grown at Mount Eden. Being high in the mountains, close to the ocean and the San Francisco Bay allows ideal, long, fog-free days with low daytime highs and a relative absence of heat spikes in the summer and fall.
In addition, most of the acres farmed here are on eastern slopes. This direction gives the estate vineyards an incidence to the sun which promotes this desired slow, measured ripening.
The combination of elevation, which keeps the vineyards free of fog and frost, California’s Mediterranean climate, and sufficient rainfall in the winter, allows Mount Eden to dry-farm the vineyards to produce superb fruit year after year.