Islands in the Mendocino Sky
About three hours north of San Francisco is Mendocino Ridge, one of the most unique AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in California. Nicknamed “Islands in the Sky”, the non-contiguous region is made up of small areas along the Mendocino coast that are above 1200 feet in altitude and therefore above the fog that blankets Mendocino’s lower elevations. The additional sunlight means riper fruit and fuller-bodied wines. Although there are 260,000 acres within the outer boundaries of the AVA, only about 200 acres are planted with vineyards. The region is traditionally known for zinfandel, but is currently garnering attention for other varieties, including in the coolest spots, pinot noir.