By Lisa Rowlands

The North Yuba wine appellation covers an area of seven-thousand-eight-hundred hectares of wild and scenic land within the larger Sierra Foothills AVA. Although the area has produced wine grapes intermittently since the middle of the nineteenth century, it’s resurgence as a viticultural region has occurred over just the last fifty years. The largest producer in the AVA is Renaissance Vineyards and Winery which was founded in 1978 by the Fellowship of Friends. Numerous grape varieties were planted at that time with the most successful ones still cultivated today.

As with many mountainous wine regions, North Yuba experiences a significant variation in temperature between day and night. During the day, the vines are blessed with warmth and plenty of exposure to the sun, with the shelter of the high peaks and the inland location shielding them from the marine air and cool coastal breezes. At night however, their relative altitude and the cold winds off the Sierra Nevada Mountains lead to substantially lower temperatures, effectively extending the ripening season and delivering grapes that balance complex fruit flavours with all important acidity. Thin, free-draining, nutrient rich soils dominate the region, yielding low quantities of high quality fruit.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the principal grape variety grown in the North Yuba appellation, delivering concentrated, well-structured wines that are wonderful expressions of terroir. Rhône Valley grapes such as Syrah and Viognier are also cultivated with some success in this area.