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32 local wineries approved for new "SLO Coast" AVA

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 18, 2022

Thirty-two wineries on the Central Coast have created their own AVA called the “SLO Coast.”

An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a vineyard zone classified based on geography and climate.

The 32 coastal wineries looked for ways to differentiate themselves from other wineries across the state and country.

“I sent the first email out to test the waters in 2013,” said Maria Stolo Bennetti, a Stolo Vineyards partner.

The project, nine years in the making, has now come to fruition.

“We have existing AVAs of Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley, but there were other vineyards outside of that area that weren’t being recognized,” said Aequorea and Aaron Wines owner Aaron Jackson.

“The whole purpose of AVAs is to showcase unique soil types, unique microclimates, and unique conditions for grapes,” said Absolution Cellars owner Dirk Neumann.

“We have a story to tell about the wineries in the region, what binds us in the region, and that is the coastal influence of the wine,” said Tolosa Winery President and CEO June McIvor.

The 32 wineries that applied are now known as the San Luis Obispo Coast Wine Collective.

“We’re really carving out that niche of we are the cool climate crew of California,” said Bennetti.

“What better place is there to be than be at the beach and wine country in just a couple minutes? I mean, that’s just amazing,” said Jackson.

All wineries in the AVA are six miles or less away from the ocean.

“We need our best wines getting out in the market, people being wowed by the quality of the wines here, creating that association, so this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Jackson.

“We really wanted something that kind of defined exactly where we were from,” said Bennetti.

“Having this coastal region here in San Luis Obispo County highlights the uniqueness of what we’ve got going on here,” said Neumann.

The location of the wineries offers a cool climate for grapes to grow.

“People will understand and realize the great chardonnay and pinot noirs coming out of here,” said Tolosa Winery Managing Partner Robin Baggett. “We’re bringing SLO Coast to people in Sonoma, Paso Robles, and of course here in San Luis Obispo.”

All wine bottles will now be branded with the name “SLO Coast” when distributed.

“That will be on our label that goes out up and down the state, across the country, and even internationally,” said McIvor.

Many of the wineries will come together in Shell Beach on April 2 for the SLO Coast Wine Classic.

The following wineries are classified in the SLO Coast AVA:
Absolution Cellars; Aequorea – Aaron Wines; Autry Cellars; Baileyana; Biddle Ranch Vineyard; Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture; Center of Effort; Chamisal Vineyards; Claiborne and Churchill; Croma Vera Wines; Cutruzzola Vineyards; Dunites Wine Co.; Edna Valley Vineyard; El Lugar Wines; Filipponi Ranch; Kynsi Winery; Laetitia Vineyard and Winery; Maidenstoen Wine; Niner Wine Estates; Oceano Wines; Peloton Cellars; Piedra Creek Winery; Ragtag Wine Co.; Saucelito Canyon Vineyard; Sinor-LaVallee; Stephen Ross Wine Cellars; Stolo Vineyards; Talley Vineyards; Timbre Winery; Tolosa; Verdad and Lindquist Family Wines; Wolff Vineyards