Fair Play is located in the Sierra Foothills of California and consists of a contiguous area of granitic sandy loam soils in the "mountainous uplands" of El Dorado County, as defined by the USDA.
The area is characterized by deep moderately to well-drained, granitic soils of the Holland, Shaver, and Musick series. These soils consist of sandy loams and coarse sandy loams, with an effective rooting depth of between 40 and 60 inches on the average. The granitic, sandy loam soils of Fair Play impart distinctive signature characteristics in the resultant wines from grapes grown in the Fair Play region, demonstrative of the effects of local terroir.
The terrain is generally composed of rolling hillsides and rounded ridge tops. At an elevation of 2,000 to 3,000 feet, each vineyard’s topographic location in relationship to the immediate surroundings is of utmost importance to minimize the negative effects of late spring frosts. Most of the vineyards are situated on ridge tops or hillsides, allowing cold air to drain to lower ground.
The elevation of the Fair Play region plays a role in the amount of rainfall, generally about 35 to 40 inches in an average year. Rainfall increases as the elevation increases, roughly 3 to 4 inches for every 1000 foot rise in elevation. However, the length of the growing season follows a reverse pattern; as elevation increases, the growing season decreases. Fair Play enjoys an average growing season of between 230 and 250 days, with areas to the west an