Monterey is a wine district located in California's Central Coast wine region of the United States. The region is relatively old for the standards of the New World wine country dating back to 1800 when Spanish settlers have planted the first vineyards. Monterey is a vast region and the climate varies immensely from the moist, cooler north to the dry, warmer south with ideal conditions for nearly every wine varietal and style. The predominant soil types are sand with gravel and clay, and the low rainfall makes it necessary for vineyards to be irrigated, using the underwater Salinas Valley river system. Monterey is divided into nine AVAs (American Viticultural Area) including Hames Valley, San Bernabe, Arroyo Seco, Monterey, San Lucas, Carmel Valley, San Antonio, Chalone and Santa Lucia Highlands. The most planted grape varieties are the Bordeaux grapes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot accounting for more than 60% of the total planted area followed by the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Zinfandel, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. The red wines produced in the region tend to be bold and big with rich flavour able to age beautifully.