The Carneros AVA straddles between both Napa and Sonoma Valleys, with distinct climates. The Napa side is warmer, more suited to varietals such as Cabernet, Syrah and Merlot, while the Sonoma side is cooler, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay can thrive.
The history of wine-making in Carneros dates back to the 1840s, when California was still under Mexican control and General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who was also the Director of Colonization of the Northern Frontier, secured a land grant to settle and cultivate Rincon de los Carneros and surrounding territories. This section was managed by his son-in-law, Jacob P. Leese. Grape cultivation began with Leese and as the US gained control over California, more settlers became attracted to the fertile land in Sonoma and Napa Valleys and planted their own vineyards. By the 1870s, William H. Winter purchased 1,200 acres from Leese and cultivated what became the area’s first commercial vineyard, Winter Winery.