Located just north of the Temblor Mountains at the southeastern corner of the Paso Robles AVA, French Camp Vineyards has one of the more unique terroirs (combination of rainfall, temperature, and soils) for growing grapes in California.
The 5,600 acres that comprise the French Camp parcel lay in the rain shadow of Black Mountain. This results in the vineyard receiving less than 11 inches of rainfall in an average year. This low rainfall produces far less incidents of rot and mildew in the fruit. Fortunately, the vineyard overlays a large aquifer that supplies the water needed for irrigation to make up for this low rainfall.
Because of its proximity to the mountain range and the cool air drainage that comes from them, together with cool ocean breezes that come in the late afternoons during the summer, night temperatures are cool enough to preserve the acids in the grapes, while the warm temperatures during the day assure the full maturity of the fruit. On the average, during the growing season, French Camp enjoys almost a 50-degree diurnal drop between the high temperate of the day and the cool of the night.
The soils at French Camp are typically found on a dissected flood plain. At least three times during its history, the 5,600 acres has been at the bottom of an inland sea or large lake. Many areas are mixed with fossils. Over the centuries, the land has partially eroded, leaving a number of different topsoils, gently rolling hills, flat mesas, and wide valley floors. These differences give the vineyard a diversity of sites for planting varieties that have differing needs for more or more or less sun exposure, vigor of topsoil, or soil depth.
This unique terroir produces the highly desirable grapes for which French Camp Vineyards has become known.