Californian Wine

Viticulture in California began in the 1700s as Spanish missionaries worked their way north from the South American colonies. Grapes (of the Mission, a.k.a. Pais, variety) were originally planted with the intention of producing ceremonial wine and the first wineries were established for the cultivation of Mission grapes. From these beginnings, Parisian oenologist Jean Louis Vignes is credited with being the first person to import European vines for general consumption to Los Angeles in 1833. 

This was followed in the 1850’s with Hungarian businessman  Agoston Haraszthy, who came to California after establishing businesses in Wisconsin. Finding the prevalent Mission grape to be of inferior quality, he began to select high quality vines from Europe and established vineyards in Crystal Springs outside San Francisco with the help of a government viticulture grant. Though found culpable for some shady business practices outside the wine industry, he was able to relocate his vines Read more »

Mentor for Californian Wines

Eric Guido

Food and Wine Writer for Snooth Media, Chef, Musician, Poet, Wine Lover, and Workaholic. Owner, Chef and Writer for The V.I.P. Table.

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Popular wines made in California under $20

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Varietals Produced in California View all

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

Subregions of California

  • Amador County

      Amador County, in the Sierra Foothills district of California, is named for mid-1840s ranc...

  • Central Coast

      Central Coast is a vast AVA that spans between Santa Barbara County in the south to the Sa...

  • Lake County

    Lake County is an emerging wine region within California’s North Coast, north of Napa. Clear La...

  • Mendocino County

      Mendocino County AVA is a large and climatically diverse region within the North Coast reg...

  • Monterey County

      The Monterey County AVA is part of the Central Coast region in California, below San Franc...

  • Napa County

    There is some debate over how this famous wine region got its name. Spanish settlers named the ...

  • North Coast

      The North Coast AVA is a region that spans eight counties and dozens of prestigious subreg...

  • San Francisco Bay

    AVA is one of California’s ‘Mega’ appellations. This vast AVA, covering over 1.5 million acres, ...

  • San Luis Obispo County

      San Luis Obispo is part of the larger wine Central Coast region of California, located at ...

  • Santa Barbara County

    The Santa Barbara County AVA lies within the Central Coast territory of California. Like much o...

  • Santa Cruz Mountains

      The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is a vast region within San Francisco Bay in California’s Cen...

  • Calaveras

    is a picturesque and remote area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Popular with o...

  • Contra Costa

    The Contra Costa County AVA is located within the San Francisco Bay region of California’s Cent...

  • El Dorado County

    The spectacular Sierra Nevada range offers a fitting backdrop to the vineyards of El Dorado Count...

Popular Wineries in California View all

  • Carlo Rossi Vineyards

    Every year the Great Central Valley of California provides harvests of uniquely delicious grapes....

  • 3 Blind Moose

    Truth be told, the moose aren’t blind. They just think it’s cool to share good wine with friends,...

  • Purple Moon Winery

    About  Purple Moon Shiraz: The first bottle we tried, we could not believe how good the wine...

  • Charles Shaw Winery

    The Charles Shaw label is best known for producing wines of “extreme value.” These became popul...

  • Matchbook

    This is a duplicate winery page of Matchbook Wine Company:

  • Cupcake Vineyards

    Our winery is located in Monterey County, California where warm days give way to cool nights a...

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California on Snooth

  • Rhys Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains Skyline Vineyard 2011


    Some dark fruit, but, mostly, this wine is savory. Some "meatiness." Some earthiness. Something fungal. Medium bodied. Very sedate tannin, but, still, nice acid tartness. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Viano Vineyards California Hillside White NV


    I bought this bottle of wine for £12 from a shop in London's Chiswick [].It is made from a blend of 80% colombard,15% chenin blanc and 5%,muscat. I started the bottle last night with my supper of fishcakes with salad.This is a dry wine and it is quite acidic with a lot of grapefruit style fruit.There is also a suggestion... Read More

    Wine review by duncan 906

  • Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley 2018


    Pale yellow in the glass. Tropical fruits on the nose. The nose suggested to me a very heavily oaked wine, but that is not the case; I do get some oak things, but not over the top. Yes, I get tropical fruit--banana, pineapple, kiwi--but I also get lots of citric acid. This ameliorates the oak and creates a very refreshing wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel 2017


    This is the first Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel I have tasted - much to my own personal loss. Many Zinfandel wines are spicy, hearty (even overly so, especially in alcohol) and full of semi-sweet black current and bramble berry. But the Bedrock is more than a notch upward: it has a nose of kirsch, cedar and grape preserve that yells out "Italy!"... Read More

    Wine review by zufrieden

  • Carlisle Zinfandel Pagani Ranch 2014


    Very pleasant wine. Blackberry/blueberry on entry, but, then, I get something I don't recall ever experiencing in a Zin--only a suggestion, but that suggestion is orange. Very nice A "velvety" mouthfeel, which, again, I don't usually see in Zins. The orange clues you in to the fact that the acid level, here, is good. Sturdy tannin also sugg... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Bedrock Wine Co. California Syrah 2018


    I love the purple color of this one, A bit of "funk" on the nose, Lots of red berries on the tip of the tongue--unfortunately, a bit more syrupy than I like. Acid and tannin create a combination of spritziness and puckeriness around the edges of the tongue, An OK wine, and for $20 I'm happy to have this as an everyday drinker. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Gallo Family Merlot California 2016


    I was given this bottle of wine at Christmas but have no idea where my ... the ... the E & J Gallo concern in California USA.I started it last night with my supper of bacon and mushroom pasta bake.There is some plum and blackcurrant style fruit and the tannins are soft but I felt that it lacked structure or body. It was an OK wine that went we... Read More

    Wine review by duncan 906

  • Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris Fanucchi Wood Road Vineyard 2018


    Very pretty salmon color. "Fresh" nose--the nose predicts this will be a somewhat acidic wine. Sure enough, light fruit on the tongue--peach, kiwe and citrus. While the fruit flavors are subtle. there is no mistaking the citric acid--lemon or lime pith. Then there is the tingling on the tongue which, I am sure, is from the acid. A very refr... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Chappellet Vineyard Merlot Napa Valley 2013


    Lots of dark fruit on the nose. Blackberry on the tongue, but it is pretty subtle. Lots of dustiness under the rear palate--this might be from tannin. A fairly robust, mouth-filling Merlot. An unfortunate slight hint of sourness. This may be the result of less than primo storage. Still an very enjoyable wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Whole Shebang Twelfth Cuvee California NV


    I bought this bottle of wine for £16 from the website. ... the Bedrock Wine Company in California USA and their 'twelfth cuvee' is a blend dominated by zinfadel but also containing grenache,carignan,syrah,mourverde,barbera and sangiovese. I started the bottle last night with my supper of baked chicken breast. This is a ful... Read More

    Wine review by duncan 906

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  • Thank you very much for this information. I love the wine!.

    Comment by 1160807capitanoensy 1160807 capitanoensy

  • Beyond the Vine ( has completed it’s first in a series of blind tasting to find the best Syrah producer in Santa Clara County. The first flight was a good representation of 12 Syrah from south Santa Clara County and one inexpensive mystery bottle. Entries were as follows; ’07 Clos La Chance, ’07 Creek View, ’07 Fernwood, ...

    Comment by 921334greg112558 921334 greg112558

  • zinfandel

    Comment by 579496Didu 579496 Didu

  • Zinfandel

    Comment by 579496Didu 579496 Didu

  • Is there a winery in or near Pleasanton, CA that has a good merlot? My daughter is there working and I wanted her to pick me up some local wine.

    Comment by 541781Pam Burns 541781 Pam Burns

  • Does anyone have any comments about Peay Wines?

    Comment by 512854hawks8999 512854 hawks8999

  • Has anyone ever heard of "Kitchen Sink" vineyards? I was given a bottle of KITCHEN SINK was a mixture of cabernet, petite Sirah, merlot, zinfandel. It was actually a nice surprise in taste. I just don't know where to get it expensive or inexpensive? Would like an opinion from someone.

    Comment by 156349shari duff 156349 shari duff

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