The Paicines AVA



Paicines is conveniently located in the center of coastal California, a little over an hour from San Jose to the north and Monterey to the west.

History of the Paicines AVA

Years after the early Mission vineyard plantings were long abandoned, the Paicines growing region was rediscovered 35-40 years ago by Almaden. It was again deserted as a bulk brand growing region for more lucrative areas, and is now being reclaimed, this time as a high-end grape growing region.

Donati Family Vineyard is the only brand located in the Paicines appellation, although there are approximately five other vineyards located in the appellation, growing primarily Bordeaux varieties. Neighboring appellations are home to Calera Wine Company, Chalone Vineyard, Leal Vineyards and DeRose Vineyards.

The quaint town of Paicines, Population 204, consists of a country store, restaurant, and post office, all in one convenient building. Paicines is approximately 10 miles from the booming metropolis of Hollister.


The Paicines appellation is about 17 miles north of Pinnacles National Monument and Park and consists of about 4,500 acres of grape-growing area. On the western side are the Cienega Vineyards and the Gabilan Mountain Range which separate Paicines from San Lucas and King City. The San Luis Dam and New Idria and the Panoche Valley are on the eastern edge. The San Benito River forms a portion of the western boundary and continues on through the vineyards.

The Paicines area is in a wind tunnel of cool ocean air flowing to the San Joaquin Valley. Because of the relative lack of trees adjacent to the vineyard areas, the Paicines area is open to the direct influence of these winds. In the afternoon, Paicines takes advantage of the slight cooling breeze that comes in off the Monterey Valley. At night Paicines is more protected from the evening fog than much of the surrounding area because of its open location. However, during periods of extremely heavy fog, the Paicines area holds the fog longer than much of the nearby area, including Cienega Valley.

Elevation ranges from 500 to 1,200 feet above sea level. The average elevation is lower than much of the surrounding area, which is closer to the Gabilan Mountain Range. The rainfall pattern in the Paicines area differs greatly from the area surrounding the Gabilan Mountain range. Annual rainfall in the Paicines area is between 12 and 15 inches.

The 10-year average temperature is around 2,750 degree days, a cool Region II.

The Paicines area is comprised of various soil associations including Sorrento, Mocho, Clear Lake, Willows, Rincon, Antioch, Diablo, Soper, San Benito and Linne. The various soils in this area are generally well drained, of various depths, and root zones are quite deep. There are some steady alluvial fans and terrace escarpments with rapid runoff.