The Sonoma Coast AVA encompasses mountainous terrain bordering the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. The notion that this area is too cold and rainy to support quality grape production was first dispelled in the 1970s and is proven to be further from the truth with each successive vintage. The cool climate and long growing season produce some of the country’s best, and most sought after, Chardonnay. The region’s Pinot Noir and Syrah are also among the best produced anywhere in the United States. This large, forested and sparsely populated AVA contains about a dozen wineries with most open for tasting, usually by appointment. Production is normally small with a majority of wineries producing fewer than 3000 cases. In addition to the exceptional wine made by Sonoma Coast wineries, several non-resident wineries use Sonoma Coast grapes for their best wines. Top non-resident wineries include, among others: Aubert, Hartford, Kistler, Kosta Browne, Marcassin, Pahlmeyer, Siduri, and Williams Selyem.