Monterey County is classified as Region I and II, comparable with the premium growing regions of Californias Napa and Sonoma Counties and The Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France. All grapes grown in Monterey County are wine grapes. Wines from these vineyards have unique qualities which make them easily distinguishable from those produced elsewhere in California or the world. All have intense varietal flavor, which means the true taste of the grape is reflected in the wine. In Monterey County, Chardonnay is an especially important grape as it comprises 40% of total grape acreage. Chardonnay grapes from Monterey County vineyards have become especially prized by winemakers throughout the state. Currently, the northern areas of the county are heavily planted in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc. In the warmer southern areas, red grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon (the second largest variety), Merlot and Zinfandel are common. Land, Climate and Growing Methods - The remarkable grapes which produce these distinctive wines are the result of three key elements - the land itself, the near-perfect climate and the blend of traditional and innovative methods used by growers and winemakers.