Sta. Rita Hills AVA
|Type||American Viticultural Area|
|Year established||2001, amended 2005|
|Part of||California, Central Coast AVA, Santa Ynez Valley AVA|
|Total area||30,720 acres (12,432 ha)|
|Size of planted vineyards||1,700 acres (688 ha)|
|Grapes produced||Barbera, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Dornfelder, Grenache, Mission, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot noir, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Zinfandel|
The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in Santa Barbara County, California. From its creation in 2001 through 2006, the wine appellation was officially named Santa Rita Hills AVA. The formal name change was the result of a protest by and subsequent negotiations with Vina Santa Rita, a very large Chilean wine producer that was concerned about the AVA name diluting its international brand value. The name change took effect on January 5, 2006, with a yearlong period for producers in the AVA to change their wine labels.
Sta. Rita Hills is part of the larger Santa Ynez Valley AVA, located between the towns of Lompoc and Buellton with the Purisima Hills on the north and the Santa Rosa Hills on the South. The wine region is exposed to fog and coastal breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean. The hills run east to west, which allows cool ocean breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean to enter the valley created by the hills and create a cool micro-climate. When combined with the rocky nature of the area, the Santa Rita Hills area is well-suited for the growing of Pinot noir grapes, which tend to do well in cool climates with rocky soil. The region is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Syrah varietal wines.
Several wineries are located in and around the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Wineries and locations in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA were featured in the 2004 U.S. film Sideways.
- Code of Federal Regulations. "§ 9.162 Sta. Rita Hills." Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Part 9 — American Viticultural Areas; Subpart C — Approved American Viticultural Areas. Retrieved Jan. 24, 2008.
- Wine Institute (2008). "American Viticultural Areas by State". Retrieved Jan. 25, 2008.
- Appellation America (2007). "Sta. Rita Hills (AVA): Appellation Description". Retrieved Jan. 25, 2008.