Wines from California’s Central Coast will be featured during the 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. The competition, one of the largest in the country, will be held Nov. 3 and 4, 2018.
California’s Central Coast is a large and desirable American Viticultural Area (AVA) that stretches approximately 250 miles along the state’s coastline from San Francisco County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south, averaging about 25 miles in width. The AVA includes over 90,000 acres planted with wine grapes, and is home to about 360 wineries that produce almost 15 percent of the state’s wines. The grapevines here are some of the oldest in the state, planted by the Franciscan monks as they traveled north on El Camino Real (“The royal road,” now Highway 101) in the 1700s.
The Central Coast is known for its diversity in topography and climate, and contains 40 sub-regions that specialize in different types and expressions of wine. The appellations in the northern part of the Central Coast include Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey, Carmel Valley, Arroya Seco and the Santa Lucia Highlands, among others. Cool, ocean breezes from the Pacific provide an ideal climate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In the higher altitudes, particularly in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Cabernet Sauvignon excels. In the southern part of the Central Coast, Paso Robles has established an international reputation for Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Italian grapes, including Barbera and Sangiovese, also thrive here, as does Zinfandel. Further south and closer to the coast, Santa Barbara County enjoys a microclimate that is ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Within Santa Barbara County, the AVAs of Santa Maria Valley, the Santa Ynez Valley and Sta. Rita Hills produce some of the finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the state and, according to many, some of the best in the world outside of Burgundy.
By selecting the Central Coast as its featured region for the 2019 International Wine Competition, Rodeo fans will have several opportunities to enjoy a diverse selection of delicious wines created by up-and-coming winemakers at several Rodeo Uncorked! events. Winning wines from the Central Coast, along with other winning varieties from the competition, will be served during Roundup & Best Bites, Feb. 17, the Champion Wine Auction & Dinner, Feb. 24, and will be served in the Champion Wine Garden daily during the Rodeo, which runs from Feb. 25 to March 17. To learn more about Rodeo Uncorked! events, visit rodeohouston.com/wine.