The legendary, driving wind pushing south through the Santa Lucia Highlands from the deep, cold waters of Monterey Bay arrives nearly every day like clockwork during the growing season. Starting in mid-afternoon and continuing until after dusk, the wind’s impact on the grapes and resulting wines is as intense as its perpetual presence.
Average maximum daily winds of 10-15 miles per hour and gusts up to 25 miles per hour change the structure of the grape skins, which results in higher phenolics, and ultimately deeper flavor in the grapes. Along with cooling temperatures blowing in from the Monterey Bay, the wind also stops photosynthesis, giving the Santa Lucia Highlands a shorter daily growth and physiological development in the vines, and a longer growing season in total than most cool-climate growing regions. Growers and winemakers in the region wait for acids in the grapes to drop and enjoy a slow even ripening towards harvest without the threat of fall rains thanks to the arid climate.