If you’ve read a few posts here on the blog you may be a bit confused as to where the home office is located. I use Napa and Carneros interchangeably but Carneros is actually a distinct region that spans both Napa and Sonoma counties.
The AVA is home to many wineries, but sheep and cattle farms also dot the region. Several marinas are connected to the nearby San Pablo Bay as well as the Napa River and its many sloughs. The land is a mix of vine covered rolling hills, wetlands and oak and eucalyptus groves.
Bordering the bay, Carneros enjoys cool Ocean breezes that make it an ideal area for Burgundy grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, yet it also is good for Syrah. The strong coastal influence also means the weather is much cooler in Carneros than Sonoma or Napa valley. Cool and foggy mornings, even during the height of summer, are common.
While we live in the Napa part of Carneros, one could also claim to live in Carneros but live in Sonoma or Sonoma County as well. Being part of both of California’s premier wine counties gives Carneros a unique character. It also is quite literally where the two regions meet as it is bridged by Highway 121 the main road from Sonoma to Napa.
Carneros means rams or sheep in Spanish and reflects the area’s agricultural roots that were tied to the Spanish mission in Sonoma. The last, and northernmost of the Spanish missions in California.
The Carneros Wine Alliance has an excellent Web site with a wealth of more information about the region and its wineries.