Robert Mondavi believed great wines begin in the vineyard. The wines of Robert Mondavi Private Selection embrace the best characteristics of California Central Coast vineyards. The unique geography and fascinating history of the region reveal a character as distinctive as the wines it produces.
Nearly one million years ago, most of California’s Central Coast was covered by a huge inland sea, with the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges rising up as great islands. Many geographic events contributed to the current landscape: years of erosion and gradual tectonic shifting heightened the mountains; the last ice age, 17,000 years ago, lowered sea level drastically and uncovered more of the two ranges; volcanic activity nearly 500,000 years ago finally drained the inland sea to the ocean, further exposing the two mountain ranges and establishing much of the current coastline. The Salinas River served as an outlet from this inland sea, depositing sand on its way to Monterey Bay. This resulted in the sandy, well-draining soil of today’s Salinas Valley. Today, the Salinas River begins in the mountains of San Luis Obispo, winds across the Paso Robles plateau, down into the Salinas Valley and out to Monterey Bay. As the river flows downhill into Monterey Bay, it prevents salinated ocean water from entering the valley, creating optimum irrigation for agriculture. With its imposing mountains, sheltered valleys, forests and dramatic shoreline, the Central Coast is an area of startling contrasts and stunning beauty.