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The main weather influence to Monterey County’s vineyards is the cooling air from Monterey Bay. The air moves into the Salinas Valley and the area around Hollister in San Benito County. As the warm air in the southern part of the county rises during the day, cool air from the Bay rushes in to fill the void. The region rarely has damaging frosts or unseasonable weather allowing the fruit longer “hang time”. Because of the long growing season viticulturists will raise the leaf canopy which covers the grapes, to balance the relationship between hang time and ripening to create the ideal sugar acid balance. Buds come out two weeks earlier in the spring, compared to other regions, and the harvest in the fall is often two weeks later allowing for development of the varietal characteristics of the grape. Rainfall is concentrated between October and April with the most in January, averaging between 15 and 18 inches per year. Monterey and San Benito County wineries can be visited year round with less crowds in the non-summer months.

 

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