Summary: Mariah Vineyards is located at a high elevation in the Coastal Mountains. The vines are thriving under the care and maintenance of Dan and Vicki Dooling who have devoted 30 years to a dream. Those planning a visit to the vineyards should contact the Doolings for an appointment.
A visit to Mariah Vineyards in Mendocino County, will take guests high in the coastal mountains. The trip takes one up a long wooded and very winding road. On a clear day one can see views of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
According to Vicki Dooling, the creation of a vineyard on a mountaintop was a life long dream for Dan. The couple has worked together since the 1970s to bring this dream to life. Today the vineyards are located in the Mendocino Ridge AVA. This appellation is based on elevation. To be considered a part of the Mendocino Ridge AVA, vineyards must be located above 1,200 feet elevation. Mariah Vineyards are at 2,600 feet. Six vineyards are located in the Mendocino Ridge AVA. This AVA is unique in the United States because it is the only AVA with noncontiguous areas.
Dan created and trademarked “ Islands in the SkyTM.” This designation refers to the scene created by fog from the Pacific Ocean filling the lower elevations while the mountaintops, above the fog line, appear as islands surrounded by clouds. Vineyards grown above the 1200-foot fog line receive an abundant amount of sunshine. During late summer and fall the daytime temperatures are lower than temperatures in the valley, however nighttime temperatures are warmer. This creates ideal growing temperatures for red grapes varieties that fully ripen maintaining their acid levels.
Today the vineyards consist of 36 acres. These vineyards are thriving under sustainable and dry farming techniques. Vineyard grapes include Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Syrah and Pinot Noir. The soil is loam that is well drained. In the fall the grapes are hand harvested. Dan is a winegrower selling his grapes to wineries. He also produces several wines to showcase his vineyards. The winery is located in the lower level of the house.
The wines are a reflection of the vineyards. Sauvignon Blanc 2008 offered a citrus aroma with citrus and hints of tropical fruit on the taste. The finish was crisp. Mariah Syrah 2006 was a dark purple to black color. There were dark fruit particularly plum nuances on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp with fruit notes. This wine was aged in French oak for 20 months and had 14.5 percent alcohol. Zinfandel 2006 was a dark purple with nuances of red fruit. The finish was crisp with tannins. The aftertaste was fruity. This wine was aged in French oak for 20 months. Alcohol was 14.5 percent.
At Mariah Vineyards, the wines they produce show the importance of the concept that wines are made in the vineyard. While shopping for wines, consider looking for wines produced from grapes grown at Mariah Vineyards in California. Tastings at the vineyard are by appointment only.
33525 Mountain View Road
Point Arena, California 95459
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