North Yuba is made up of the middle and upper foothills of Yuba County west of the Sierra Nevadas and north of the Yuba River. The 2,000-foot/610-meter line of the mountains forms the eastern and northern boundaries, while the 1,000-foot/305-meter line north of the Yuba River canyon forms the southern boundary. In all, North Yuba is 7 miles/11 km in length from north to south and 3 to 6 miles/5 to 10 km in width from east to west. As part of the western slope of the Sierra, the region is marked by gently rounded ridges, moderately steep rolling hillsides and steep canyon slopes.
Mountains/River/other key influences
The Sierra Nevada looms to the east of Yuba County with North Yuba technically within the larger Sierra Foothills AVA. It is a steeply-sloped, rocky and remote mountainous area, with vineyards planted between 1,000 and 2,300 feet/305 and 701 meters in most cases. The Dobbins Creek and Dry Creek flow into the larger Yuba River.
The soils of North Yuba consist of decomposing granite, quartz and volcanic rock, with much of the plantings own-rooted and dry-farmed. In all, nine soil associations are common to the valley lands, three common to the foothills region and six common to the mountainous terrain. The three that most distinguish it are Sierra-Auberry, Englebright-Rescue and Dobbins, all typical of soils that develop from granitic and igneous rocks. Soils are shallow to very deep, rocky, cobbly and rocky, and generally well-drained.
Warm days and cold nights dominate in North Yuba, the sun baking the granite slopes during the heat of the day, when the grapes accumulate high sugar levels. The fall in nighttime temperatures allows the vines to build acidity to balance those sugars, often dropping 30 degrees or more from daytime highs. Foothill winds are an additional cooling factor in summer. North Yuba receives roughly 51 inches/130cm of rainfall a year, with rain increasing with elevation, and falling as snow at the highest peaks. The topography ensures adequate ventilation for viticulture and escapes the early frosts and snow of higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada, as well as the heat, humidity and fog found in the lowlands of the Sacramento Valley.
Within the larger Sierra Foothills AVA, near the town of Marysville and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and northeast of the Sacramento Valley, totaling approximately 35 square miles/91 square km or 22,400 acres/9,065 hectares
Yuba is thought to be a derivation of the Spanish word “uva” for grapes and is so named because of the wild grapes seen growing along the banks of the Yuba River when settlers arrived
Topography/Elevation/Water Sources/Geographic Features
Steeply sloped, rocky and remote mountainous terrain, with vineyards planted between 1,000 and 2,300 feet/305 and 701 meters elevation
Decomposing granite, quartz and volcanic rock
Interior Mediterranean, marked by warm days and cold nights during the growing season
Main Grape Varieties
Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir