A Monterey Wine Corridor: A Great Idea
It strikes me that the Monterey region in central California is perhaps one of the most perfectly situated "wine country" destinations in all of California. If all goes well down in that neck of the woods, the county will be helping out the wine industry, and wine lovers, by creating a "wine corridor" that encourages modest development of wine and wine tourism related business up and down the valley.
The proposal for the Wine Corridor comes as Monterey is considering a revision to its County General Plan. Vintners and growers in the county not that upwards of 75% of the grapes grown in Monterey are trucked out to other wineries north and south of the County. One of the important ideas behind the Wine Corridor is to encourage modest growth of new wineries, restaurants and B&Bs in the Salinas Valley in order to attract more tourist that, in turn, will allow more Monterey wine to be bottled and sold at home.
There is opposition, particularly from slow growth advocates who worry about potential congestion on River Road that runs the length of the Salinas Valley as well as the impact on the environment.
When you consider the location and surrounding attractions of the Monterey Wine Region it truly is a magnificent place for wine lovers to spend time. The Salinas Valley itself encompasses a number of impressive wine growing appellations such as the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seca. Just to the west, over the hill, you find Carmel Valley, a spot of pure beauty with its own set of wineries. Travel even further west and you are on the Pacific Coast: Monterey, Carmel and that amazing coastline.
Finally, add to this the quality of the wine coming out of Monterey. Really superb!! The vintners and winegrowers in Monterey have made tremendous strides over the past 15 years to the point where they are far along in identifying various tracks of land that make for great vineyards and know exactly which grapes to grow where.
Wark Communications has had the opportunity to learn a great deal more about Monterey and its wines and its vineyards by working with Cima Collina, a boutique winery recently launched and based entirely on Monterey grown grapes. Cima Collina’s winemaker and general manager Annette Hoff probably could have gone wherever she wanted based on her experience and track record. She chose Monterey.
Pinot is clearly the leader of the Pack in Monterey, yet the Salinas Valley is a climatically very diverse as well as geologically. Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet grown in the central and southern reaches of the Valley is delivering outstanding wine.
The County-supported "Wine Corridor" is a good idea that will help Monterey winemaking as well as County coffers. One hopes it gets into the new General Plan.