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Chateau Elan Winery

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Not only is Chateau Elan producing world class wines from grapes grown in our Estate Vineyard, but also wines made from grapes grown all over California wine country. Below you will find a breakdown of the main viticulture areas we are working with.

 

Paso Robles

Geography

Situated directly between Los Angeles and San Fransiscio just inland from the Santa Lucia mountains, Paso Robles is one of California's fastest growing wine regions. Geographically this area is divided into two main areas, the east and west sides of the Salinas River. The eastern side characterized by lower elevations and rolling hills; the western side characterized by steeper hillsides cut by small canyons. 

Soils

The soil content of the Paso Robles AVA is extremely diverse. It is not uncommon for a single vineyard block to be home to multiple soil types. The underlying similarity in the terroir of this region is its particularly high concentration of calcareous soils. This characteristic results in a high soil PH not typical of other California viticulture areas.

Climate

While Paso Robles is known for its many distinct microclimates, the region as a whole does share a few key characteristics. First and probably most important is the regions huge diurnal fluctuation. During summer days temperatures typically rise to between 85 and 105 degrees farenheit. At night the temperatures can fall to 40 or 50 degrees. This huge temperature swing is brought on by cool marine air flowing through the Templton Gap and down the centrally situated Salinas River. This key feature sets the Paso Robles AVA apart from all other Califronia viticulture areas. The second shared and impactful characteristic is the regions dry fall months. The first rains do not typically fall in Paso Robles until mid November. This give the grapes of the region plenty of time to mature on the vine without risk of dilution.

Lake County

Geography 

Lake County is located just north of Napa, encompassing the areas surrounding its namesake Clear Lake. The geography of Lake County is wildy varied based on the tumultuous tectonic histroy of the region. The region is sub-divided into four major AVA's. The first being Clear Lake AVA which includes the body of water itself and surrounding region. The second being the aptly named High Valley AVA which lines the northern coast of the middle of Clear Lake. Third is the unique Red Hills AVA which is situated on the south western portion of the lake in the Mayacamas Mountains. Finally there is Guenoc Valley situated directly adjacent to Napa Valley in the southern portion of the county.

Soils

Just like the varied geographies of the region the soils vary substantially throughout Lake County. The soils of High Valley and Red Hills are defined by their volcanic nature. These well drained soils are comprised of pourous red scoria, black obsidian and quarts. In the lower lying valley areas the soil is defined by the alluvial deposits of the ancients waters that flowed through the region. These soils are mostly Still and Lupoyoma loams, very well drained soils of clay sand and silt.   

Climate

One of the most universal similarities of the various AVA's in Lake County is the tremendous impact of the large central lake on their climate. This lake provides a year round temperature constant that help generate a substantial lake breeze to aid in cooling the valleys surrounding it at night. The constant convection provide by the lake in combination with great UV exposure in the area leads to rich tannic grapes. Thanks to the areas cold winters and dry summers, Lake County also has one of the lowest pesticide application rates in all of California.

Yolo County

Geography

Yolo county is located north and west of the city of Sacramento. This area is bounded by the North Coast Range to the West and the city of Sacramento to the East. The Sacramento Valley is largley rural however Yolo County is home to the large suburbs of Woodland and Davis. Outside of these suburban centers are sprawling agricultural areas all neatly partitioned throughout the fertile valley. The two main AVA's lie in the north western region of the county, Capay Valley and Dunnigan Hills.

Soils

The soil content varies greatly throughout Yolo County with the more eastern regions comprised almost entirely of fluvial deposits and the western hills and valley composed of some larger more granual soil contributed from the bordering volcanic mountain ranges. The soils near Davis are known for a particularly high PH. 

Climate

Yolo County experiences a milder river delta climate with consistent breezes and good diurnal variation. The AVA's of Capay Valley and Dunnigan Hills have good UV exposure and a greater diurnal swing due to more air circulation and higher elevations.

Southern Piedmont

Geography

The Southern Piedmont region is situated at the southern stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains and consists of rolling to hilly upland foothills with elevation ranging from 330 to 1,310 feet above sea level. The land area in Georgia constitutes 27% of the Southern Piedmont region and this is where our Estate vineyards are positioned here on property.

Soils

Soils in the Southern Piedmont are classified as well drained, with ample red clay subsoil to hold moisture between rains. Dominant parent rock includes biotite, gneiss, schist, slate, quartzite, phyllite, amphibolite and granite. Soils generally range from loamy to clay in texture, with pH from 4.5 to 6.5, and can be shallow to very deep, and severely eroded in some instances.

Climate

Temperatures are more moderate than those in the Southern Blue Ridge region (USDA hardiness zones 7a-8a) and rarely drop below 0° F, even in the northern stretch of the area. Late-spring frosts can still be a concern for vines not planted on sites with relative elevation that encourages cold air drainage. Although average annual precipitation ranges from 45 to 60 inches, drip irrigation is recommended due to hotter summer temperatures in this region.