The Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation covers a large geographic area from Woodside in Northern San Mateo County to Watsonville in Southern Santa Cruz County. With only 1500 acres planted to wine grapes, the area encompasses some 480,000 acres.
Located between two major bodies of water, the peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay is subject to a strong maritime influence. The appellation ranges in altitude from 400 feet up to 2600 feet on the ridges and valleys throughout. The warm days and cool nights resulting from the marine influence are perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This climate preserves the integrity of the fruit, allowing for softer skins and tannins that release more easily into the wine.
The San Andreas Fault line dissects the region, with the Pacific Plate on the coastal side and the North American plate inland. Soil on the Pacific Plate is comprised primarily of ancient seabed and is characterized by sedimentary sandstone, mudstone, clay and shale created by marine deposits and loam. Soil on the North American Plate is primarily metamorphic and granitic, although some areas near the fault line feature both.
Within the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, there are five major subregions, from the South, they are: Corralitos/Pleasant Valley, Los Ranchos, Summit Road, Saratoga/Los Gatos and Skyline, in which Kings Mountain Vineyards is located. These five subregions can be identified by the microclimates that lend very distinct flavor profiles to the grapes grown in each. Despite clonal differences and winemaking styles, the underlying subregional characteristics in the vineyard are quite pronounced, especially when referring to Pinot Noirs of the appellation.
The Woodside area and Skyline subregion is the northern end of the appellation and includes vineyards along the ridge at about 2100 feet as well as vineyards down slope closer to the San Francisco Bay. These Vineyards can experience dramatic temperature variations, with frequent evening maritime fog events during the summer that bring cold coastal air to cool the warm afternoons.
In general, Santa Cruz Mountains wines are characterized by an earthy, mineral quality, specifically pronounced in the Pinot Noirs, with a complexity and balanced acidity that pairs well with food and helps the wines mature gracefully. Pronounced acidity, bright lively fruit, red berries, dark cherries, cranberry, guava, cocoa, allspice, orange peel and herbaceous flavors characterize the Skyline subregion flavor profiles.