The wine industry of the San Benito appellation is well on the way to reestablishing itself as a viable and dynamic viticultural region. Once home to industry giant, Almaden, the appellation’s wine industry shook under what must have felt like a massive earthquake when its biggest winery sold out in the late 1980s. By 1994, the appellation’s acreage under vine fell well below 1,000 acres. With renewed interest in the region, that number rebounded to over 3,000 acres by 2002. The climate of this appellation is generally moderate, cooled by Pacific Ocean breezes that penetrate through gaps in the Gavilan and the Santa Lucia mountain ranges. However, climactic generalizations don't do justice to this viticultural area, as wide variations in elevation and soil structure provide unique microclimates. This appellation encompasses three different AVAs. Inspired vineyard projects, notably Dyson’s Vista Verde and Diageo’s Blossom Hill, combined with appellation-commited wineries could put San Benito back on the map...big time!