West of the West—Finally

To anyone who has stood, wrapped in a down vest, on the edge of the cold Sonoma Coast in California, the expression “West of the West” makes sense. The long slice of rugged land bordering the coastline and tracking more or less perfectly with the San Andreas Fault has been (unofficially) referred to as the “true Sonoma Coast” for years. Standing there, you feel almost as though all of California is east of you.  Now the “true Sonoma Coast” may become a reality. The area is on target to become its own AVA in early 2019 when it will officially be known as the West Sonoma Coast. The challenge with the current AVA—Sonoma Coast—is its size: more than 500,000 acres. Critics say that’s simply too large, especially for an AVA where the hyper site-specific grape pinot noir is widely grown. The West Sonoma Coast will be much smaller and the pinot, chardonnay, and syrah grapes grown there will benefit from a climate cooler than Burgundy’s.

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