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A Look at the Proposed “Eagle Peak Mendocino County AVA”

Today, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau opened three AVA actions for comment. One proposal is the creation of a new AVA, Eagle Creek Mendocino County. The other two proposals are for boundary changes to the Mendocino AVA and Redwood Valley AVA. Unlike most recent AVA adjustments, the suggested changes to Mendocino and Redwood Valley would decrease rather than increase their acreage. The comment period for all three proposals closes on August 26, 2013. 

The three proposals are related. The suggested Eagle Peak Mendocino County AVA boundaries overlap those of the current Mendocino and Redwood Valley AVA lines. Adjusting the latter two as proposed would eliminate the overlap, resulting in three distinct AVAs with shared borders but no common acreage.

A very rough approximation of the Eagle Peak Mendocino
County AVA location (the portion in color).
Original map from Mendocino Winegrowers Inc.

The new Eagle Peak Mendocino County AVA is estimated to be 26,260 acres overall. That includes 16 vineyards comprising 120 acres in total. Golden Vineyards and Masut Vineyards currently have land in both the Mendocino and Redwood Valley AVAs. The new alignment would have those vineyards solely within Eagle Peak Mendocino County.

The name Eagle Peak is taken from a well-known hilltop (2,699 feet) in the area. The name is used for some roads and properties in the area as well. However, Eagle Peak is a somewhat common name for summits. There are 16 in California alone, hence the appending of Mendocino County to the proposed AVA name.

Eagle Peak Mendocino County is said to range from 1,100 to 3,320 feet with rolling and steeply sloping terrain (southern exposures), a contrast to surrounding areas such as Redwood Valley and Ukiah Valley which are mostly flat and lower overall.

The proposal calls Eagle Peak Mendocino County “a transitional climate between the cool, wet climate of the Pacific coastline and the warmer, drier air of the interior valleys.” On average temperatures exceed 90 degrees in Eagle Peak Mendocino County only 22 times per year as opposed to 64 times in Redwood Valley and 80 in Ukiah Valley. Those valleys also have higher diurnal and seasonal temperature variation, but less wind, than Eagle Peak Mendocino County.

Shallow, very well-draining upland soils on Franciscan Complex sandstone and shale.

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This article is original to Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.