If you haven’t yet heard of the San Antonio Valley, a warm and sleepy highland valley located just fifteen miles from Southern Monterey County’s beautiful coastline, this is a wine region you’ll want to keep a close eye on.
The newly established appellation is emerging as a serious player in the wine world, producing a treasure trove of world class wines crafted by dedicated growers and artisan producers.
Originally one of the first viticultural areas in the USA, thanks to Mission San Antonio de Padua, the valley enjoys a warm climate, with a daily summer temperature swing of fifty degrees. The early missionaries quickly recognized that the region’s climate was perfectly suited to winegrowing and the mission winery still stands as a symbol of the valley’s rich viticultural heritage.
Although there are no tasting rooms open to the public yet, a drive through San Antonio Valley will reward you with some of the most spectacular and unspoilt views on the Central Coast. Drive through Fort Hunter Liggett and you’ll have the opportunity to visit William Randolf Hearst’s historic Milipitas Ranch House, which is now a guest lodge and remains little changed since Hearst and his Hollywood friends used it as a rural retreat.
After exploring the lodge and nearby mission, you can take the Nacimiento Fergusson Road–named by Reader’s Digest as one of the most beautiful drives in the USA–over to the Big Sur coast. Or head back through the valley to explore Lakes San Antonio or Nacimiento.
Awards are pouring in for the wines of the San Antonio Valley, many of which are available to taste and purchase at A Taste of Monterey on Cannery Row (888) 646-5446, www.tastemonterey.com. Information about the vineyards and wineries of the San Antonio Valley can be found at the San Antonio Valley Vintners & Growers website at www.savvga.com.