Wines from the state of California, United States, were the first 'New World' wines taking on the mighty European wines. These wines were fruity, fresh and also affordable.
Priests from Spain brought centuries ago vines to California, this state has been making wine since the middle of the nineteenth century. The wine producers had a number of difficulties to overcome, such as the Prohibition, wars and a depression, but after overcoming these difficulties, the wine production really took off.
Nowadays, California is one of the most widely recognized wine producers in the world. If you are drinking a bottle of wine from the United States, then there is a big chance that it is a Californian wine, since over 90 percent of the US wines comes from this state.
The wines in California were built on several international varieties, such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Most people are familiar with wines from Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, but you can find wines in a lot of other regions in California.
You can find Napa Valley northwest of San Francisco in a long valley and it is one of the most widely respected wine regions in the world. The Napa region is only 20 miles long but boasts some of the finest wines in the world. Napa has also the largest number of Approved Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
If you see AVA on the label of a wine bottle, then that wine must have at least 85 percent of that area's grapes.
At this moment, there are around 250 wineries in the Napa Valley region and 40,000 acres of vine.
Sonoma Valley is located west of the Napa Valley region. You can find here Chardonnay-, Cabernet sauvignon-, Merlot-, Pinot Noir- and Zinfandel wines. These wines are generally more affordable than the wines from the Napa Valley. The land in the Sonoma Valley is about half the price of the land in the neighboring Napa Valley region.
There are around 60,000 acres of vine and you can find around 175 wineries in this region.
San Luis Obispo
The wine region of San Luis Obispo has 200 wineries and is located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Mediterranean climate with mild summers and warm fall results in a unusually long growing season. You can find in the San Luis Obispo region Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache and Viognier, but this region especially produces superb Zinfandels.
Santa Barbara County
Experts think the Santa Barbara County wine region will be the next Napa Valley, because it has grown from nothing into a $100 million business in just three decades. There are over 21,000 acres of vineyards planted in Santa Barbara County and the wineries in this region produce Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs and Sauvignon Blancs.
Nowadays, California is not the only state where wine is produced. You can find wineries all over the United States of America, from California and New York to Idaho and Oregon.
Refer to my other wine articles if you are interested in:
- Pairing Food and Wine, The Perfect Match
- Develop Your Own Wine Palate - Things To Notice When Tasting Wine
- Cava - The Spanish alternative for Champagne
- Prosecco - a fine and affordable alternative to Champagne
- Moselle wines - Germany's top wines