The wine growing region in the US state California lies between the Central Valley and the Rocky Mountains about 150 kilometers from the Pacific. It was the former gold mining area during the gold rush. In the 19th century, this was the largest wine-growing region in California until which phylloxera put an end to it. Today the vineyards cover only 2,300 hectares of vineyards at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 450 to 900 meters above sea level. The main grape varieties are Barbera. Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay. Merlot. Syrah and by far the most common Zinfandel, There is a Mediterranean climate with a mild, mostly humid winter and warm, dry summer. The AVA area extends over the six counties (in parentheses Sub-AVA's) Amador County (California Shenandoah Valley, Fiddletown), Calaveras County, El Dorado County (California Shenandoah Valley, El Dorado, Fair Play), Mariposa County, Nevada County and Yuba County (North Yuba). There are over 100 mostly very small winegrowers. The best known are Bear River Winery, Lone Buffalo Winery, Ironstone Vineyards, Le Casque Winery, Sierra Knolls Vineyard and Winery and Cante Ao Vinho Winery.