California wine is an example of the farmers and artisans who craft their wine. The warm summer and rainy winter
and spring in the coastal areas produce superior tasting wines.
California wine areas believe in achieving the highest quality, best flavored wines through good
stewardship of the land and using sustainable practices in winegrape growing.
The original Spanish pioneers had a large effect on the California wine growers. As the California missions were
being setup in the 18th century, the Spaniards would create a vineyard. Grapes were needed by the Catholic monks
for reigious ceremony as well as basic provision. These vineyards were planted with the common black grape which
was imported from Mexico. Up until the 20th century this variety, also known as the “Mission Grape”, was the
The largest expansion in populace and wineries in the California areas of Sonaoma and Nappa Valleys was during the
years of the gold rush. Celebrated vineyards such as Buena Vista, Charles Krug Winery, Inglenook and Schramsberg
were established at that time.
California Wine Zones
There are distinct California wine zones. They are divided into 4 main areas. First, there is the
North Coast region that refers to an area north of San Francisco that includes the Sonoma and Napa Valleys as well
as Mendocino and Lake County. The second district would be the Central Coast areas west of San Francisco which
reaching down into the Santa Barbara, Paso Robles and Santa Maria Valleys. Thirdly, there is the South Coast
locales of Los Angeles, Temecula, Antelope, Romona Valleys on down to the Mexican border. The fourth region is the
Central Valley which includes, of course, the central valley and the Sierra foothills and Lodi.
Wide Range of Grapes and Wines
The types of grapes available in the California wine country is almost as varried as its people. For
instance, there are the French, Italian, Spanish grapes and new hybrids springin up each year.
The most familiar grape varieties are the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc,
Syrah and the Zinfandel. They also raise red wine grapes such as Barbera, Grenache and Petite Sirah. A few of their
white wine grapes are the Gewurztraminer, Pinot blanc and Riesling.
The New World Style California Wine
California winemakers produce “Old World” wines as well as their trademark “New World” wines.
California wine is produced with a riper grape which gives it a rich, fruity flavor and higher alcohol content.
California wine is more often aged in oak to produce full bodied wines.
Winning California Wines
The locally treasured California wine has emerged as an international treasure as well. The rest of the world is
quickly discovering the treasures of the California wine industry.