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

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • 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...

  • Merlot

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

  • Syrah

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

  • Zinfandel

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

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...

  • 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 Cruz Mountains

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

Popular Wineries in California View all

  • Livingston Cellars

    Since 1984 and 17 years, the de facto estate wine of Livingston Moffett winery has been bottled ...

  • Canyon Road Winery

    Inspired by the scenic roads that wander through California’s stunning wine country, Rafael Jofre...

  • Estancia Estates

    Estancia’s winemakers strive to combine the best of both worlds: a state-of-the art winemaking fa...

  • Glass Mountain

    It has been more than hundred years since California wine pioneer Jean Laurent quarried stone fro...

  • 3 Blind Moose

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

  • Dark Horse Wine

    Named 2007 Winemaker of the Year by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, winemaker Michael Loykasek ha...

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California on Snooth

  • Trefethen Red Bordeaux Blend Oak Knoll 2006

    Snoothrank:

    Love Read More

    Wine review by Brian butler


  • Gen 5 Old Vine Zinfandel 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Deep ruby color; on site, you'd think it was aged. A unique, heavy wine that corrals purple fruits flavors from miles around -- plum, blueberries, blackberries. Ancient dirt on the tongue, this is an wise old wine. Superior value. Read More

    Wine review by cma238


  • Stolpman Syrah "Originals" Santa Ynez Valley 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Woody, somewhat fruityberriesnose. Whoapractically, no fruit to speak of on introduction to the palatealmost a neutral sensation. Some tartnessreminiscent of plumon the edges of the tongue, then something of a hit of tannin. Interestingly, most of the flavor of this on is way in the back of the palate. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • The basic bottlings of those Pinots are generally right around 13.9%. But ... ... But ... like many things California, at the sub-$20 range, it's hard to find good examples.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic My Zinfandel Report


  • Smith Wooten Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Very nice Napa Cab Franc. Rhubarb and a touch of menthol on the nose. Medium bodied, rhubarb, dark cherries, ripe plums, medium to fine tannins, medium acidity and a medium to long finish. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Matchbook Old Head Chardonnay 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Kind of flat and flabby. There's oak and lemon cream on the nose and the palate. Not a whole lot of acidity or depth just the oak and not much else. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • What fun.  Let's hope that his experience with estate wines is better ... the group shot does he have California on the right and France on the left?  Any chance you will be able to post an inventory lis Read More

    Forum post in the topic What have you bought lately?


  • Czarina, when I started drinking zin back in the '70s, it only had 12~12.5% ... ... and other varietals in California. Really bad in places like Paso Robles and Lodi, but plenty of culprits up in Napa and even Sonoma. Unfortunately it's also a problem that has spread internationally, thanks to changes in winemaking since Parker's ratings for t... Read More

    Forum post in the topic My Zinfandel Report


  • California has it good. Earthquakes are our way of keeping the tourist traffic in check.Yep. Once those septic tanks shake loose, just call it a "mud slide". Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!


  • I'm looking forward to the day when I can pull a Myriad and Quivet out of ... range over similarly priced California wine Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Thank you very much for this information. I love the wine!. http://usaphen375.com

    Comment by 1160807capitanoensy 1160807 capitanoensy


  • Beyond the Vine (www.4beyondthevine.com) 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 red........it 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......is it expensive or inexpensive? Would like an opinion from someone.

    Comment by 156349shari duff 156349 shari duff


  • New image uploaded to this page.

    Page modification by 33093Chris Carpita 33093 Chris Carpita


  • This a most amazing,wine growing state.We have such an array of decent to great wines to please the novice all the way to the greatest wine snob.-to be continued....

    Comment by 308614THEDOGE 308614 THEDOGE


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