Its that same fog, much to the
consternation of most San Francisco tourists, which
also blankets many of Californias
great wine growing regions most summer mornings until about noon.
The fog, and resulting cool climate, plays an enormous role in creating some
best wines, in fact some of the best wines in the world.
The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco, has been attributed to Mark Twain. Whether he actually uttered those famous words is up for debate, but the meaning is not. Those words reflect the frigid summer fog of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Its that same fog, much to the consternation of most San Francisco tourists, which also blankets many of Californias great wine growing regions most summer mornings until about noon. The fog, and resulting cool climate, plays an enormous role in creating some of Californias best wines, in fact some of the best wines in the world.
Cool Temps Equals Cool Wines
Due to their close proximity to large bodies of water, wine regions closest to the coast tend to have a more maritime climate, a weather that includes cooling influences from the Pacific Ocean. These climates help produce lighter-bodied, tart and refreshing wines from grapes that thrive in cooler, cloud covered coastal climates.
For example, the Pacific fog plays a dominant role in the climate of both the Anderson and Russian River valleys. The rain-fed waterways in these regions swell in the wintertime and provide vital irrigation to the areas vineyards during the late-spring dry season. Then in summer, fog often blankets the valleys with low hanging cool air, creating ideal growing conditions for cool-climate grape varieties like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Riesling.
Long on the Vine, Better the Wine
Besides impacting the general climate in a given growing region or area, Bay Area fog helps produce some of the most stunning and complex wines in California with near pinpoint accuracy. Fog-creating cool ocean breezes deliver cool mornings throughout the award winning wine regions of Napa Valley and Sonoma County. In the summertime, these cool mornings, which are prime growing time on the vine, allow grapes maximum sun exposure with minimum risk of over cooking.
Toward most evenings, cool breezes return, the intense summertime warmth of the day is alleviated and the grapes are cooled. This daily ritual produces optimum growing conditions during the day and nearly halts slow-cooking during the night, thereby allowing for a long, slow ripening period. This unique summertime cycle limits the risk of over ripeness or “baked” flavors in the grapes and is not only the foundation, but the heart of the complex flavors of California Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Celebrate the Fog
Its no wonder, then, that grape growers and winemakers alike celebrate the mystical powers that fog wields in the creation of great tasting wines. From the Foggy Bridge and Adrian Fog wineries to the Fog Crest and Fog Dance vineyards, there are many naming tributes scattered throughout the wine industry.
But if you havent experienced San Francisco Bay Area fog firsthand, you can enjoy its resulting delights with a glass of Fog Head, Fog Bank or Fog Mountain wine. And perhaps no wine is more aptly named or better captures the power and spirit of the fog than Wentes Morning Fog Chardonnay. Wine notes read:
Each summer morning, fog billows inland through the Golden Gate, pushed by Pacific wind streams into the bowl of the San Francisco Bay. Here, it forms deep fog banks cooling the air as it goes. This daily phenomenon creates the Mediterranean or Marine climate found in less than 1% of the worlds land mass .and ideal for growing wine grapes that are beautifully balanced.