The Mendocino AVA is an American Viticulture Area in Mendocino County, CA that is foggy, cool, and covered in redwood forests. Winemaking has a lengthy history in Mendocino with 108 local wineries still producing. During Prohibition, nearly all wineries were eradicated and replaced with fruit and tree nut orchards, but some remains of those deserted wineries still exist. Today, Mendocino is well-known for dominating the green wine movement, with ¼ of grapes in the region grown and farmed organically. This AVA is known for its Mediterranean climate, growing grapes like Carignan, Charbono, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Zinfandel. A plethora of wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties purchase Mendocino grapes to blend into their wines. There are over 550 vineyards and over 50 wineries in the region.
Mendocino AVA is one of the northernmost wine regions in California with two very different climate zones separated by the Mendocino Range. Mendocino County has 10 diverse appellations within it and almost a quarter of the region's wine grapes are organically grown. The ridges are above and surrounded by coastal fog, coining the name “Islands in the Sky.” The vineyard soils of Mendocino are mostly deep alluvial. Close to the Russian and Navarro Rivers, the soil is more of a gravelly-loam and thin scree. North of Ukiah, vines are often planted with an eastward orientation, and further south, vines are planted with a westward orientation to prevent heat stress. To the west, the Pacific fog drifts in, blanketing the valley with thick, cool fog, dominating the climate in Anderson Valley. With so much moisture, rain can sometimes be an issue. The climate season in Mendocino county stimulates a shorter grower season of approximately 268 days compared to the average 308 days in Sonoma.
In the cooler region, you will find the appellations of Mendocino, Mendocino Ridge, Anderson Valley, and Yorkville Highlands. In the warmer region, you will find Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Cole Ranch, McDowell Valley, Covelo, and Dos Rios. Anderson Valley opens to the Pacific, producing cool climate wines like Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. Cole Ranch, the smallest AVA, is known for its production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. McDowell Valley cultivates Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. Ukiah Valley is known for its warm to hot climate and grows Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel. Mendocino Ridge boasts vineyards about 1200 ft and primarily produces Zinfandel.
Our 100% Chenin Blanc, Bohdi, comes from the Enlightenment Vineyard in Ukiah. Originally planted as Valdiguié, the now 85-year-old vines were grafted in 1980 to produce Chenin Blanc. Farmed naturally and organically, we picked and whole-cluster-pressed our Chenin Blanc using native yeast fermentation in a barrel with a partial natural malolactic fermentation to create a wine that’s both fresh and creamy.
We head back to Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino County for another riff on Cal-Ital wines for our 2019 Money Honey, which is 65% Sangiovese, 25% Primitivo, 8% Negroamaro, 2% Dolcetto. This 60-acre vineyard, just north of Hopland, sits on the upper Russian River between 700 and 1,400 feet in elevation. The vineyard's gravelly loam soils blossom amazingly high-quality, complex fruit, despite low yields. Owners Lowell and Barbara Stone have their entire property planted with these incredible Italian varietals and we just keep coming back for more.
Our winemaker, Bertus, scored us fruit from the mother-f'ing Shake Ridge Ranch for Cool Confusion, a retired wine blended with 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. Yes, the world-famous Amador County vineyard owned by legendary viticulturist Ann Kraemer. If you aren't familiar, read up, this is mythical territory when it comes to terroir. Situated 1,800 feet above sea level, the cool air from the Sierras makes for a long growing season, helping fruit retain fresh acidity and texture. To make a wine from such sacred vines is an absolute honor.
Hey there! Welcome to Tank Garage Winery, the coolest winery in Napa Valley. No... really. Visiting the tasting room is like taking a trip back in time to a 1920s gas station turned speakeasy, pouring rad as shit wines and playing bomb as hell music. Cool California vibes mixed with vintage decor bring to fruition the most quirky encounter you’ll get at a winery. We think tasting wine should be easy, chill, and accessible for everyone and that’s the experience we’ve created at Tank. No judgment. No pressure. No frills. Everything we do is with our heart and soul.