What is the climate like of Santa Rita Hills Wine Country?

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Santa Rita Hills Wine Country is located between HWY 1 and HWY 101 within the western hills of the larger Santa Ynez Valley AVA. While its parent AVA is considered cool for California Wine Country standards, the Santa Rita Hills is even cooler. Most of the hilly AVA is classified as a Region I by the UC Davis Heat Summation Scale. (the coldest climate that grapes will ripen in)

Although the viticultural area is dominated by low hills, the Santa Rita Valley runs east-west through the region. HWY 246 traces this route which opens to the town of Lompoc in the west. Temperatures are quite chilly through this low-lying area. The climate is distinguished from the Santa Ynez Valley as it warms considerably east of HWY 101.

Coastal fog creeps through the Santa Rita Valley and Hills overnight and in the early morning. This cools the grapes and makes for a longer hang-time. The long growing season further concentrates the flavors and intensity of the grapes, producing premium-quality, opulent wine. Morning temperatures are usually under 60 degrees and rise into the 80s by mid-afternoon.

What is the climate like of Santa Rita Hills Wine Country?

The Aleutian Storm Track brings the North Coast much of its rain. This phenomena rarely affects AVAs in Santa Barbara County as most precipitation comes from warmer storms derived from the south.