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...

  • 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...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • 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

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

  • Rockledge Vineyards

    High on the eastern slopes of Napa Valley just south of the town of St. Helena is a saddle covere...

  • Ca' Momi Wines

    "Ca’ Momi” wines are named for our family home in Northern Italy. The name also pays tribute to M...

  • Tisdale Vineyards

    Since its inception, the hallmark of E. & J. Gallo Winery’s founders has been their unwavering co...

  • Barefoot Cellars

    We got our start as a "garage wine" back in the Sixties but really stepped up what Barefoot wa...

  • Estancia Estates

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

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California on Snooth

  • Scott Peterson S.P. Drummer Napa Chardonnay 2015

    Snoothrank:

    A recent Naked Wines selection and a great example of a balanced oak and fruit California Chardonnay.Light clear gold in the glass. Opens with cola and vanilla; then more vanilla and cream soda; then herbs. Most of this carries over to the palate along with stewed stone fruit - peaches and apricot; along with ripe melon. Very smooth and balanced... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Myriad Cellars Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Cabernet Sauvigon 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Very attractive red plum color. Dark brooding nose. On the tongue I get the hoped-for CS black fruit. However, it is quite muted--no sweetness. Then I get something like pencil lead. Some salinity. Im finding this wine not nearly as tannic as I might have guessed. Tart acid makes me want another sip. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Once & Future Sonoma Valley Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Nice, BIG Zinfandel. Red fruit on entry--not overly sweet. Fairly stiff tannin, but not over the top. Good acid. Tannin/acid suggests that this wine will benefit from aging. However, I am enjoying this one right now and don't feel one iota of guilt about drinking it, now. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Franc Dusak Malbec Lake County 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Another recent Naked Wines selection and a smooth one. Smooth number. Deep dark red purple in the glass. Opens with blueberry jam and baking yeast; then black currant and olive; finishes up with fig, ginger, and baking spices and a bit of strawberry/cherry preserves. Medium full in the mouthfeel with a long finish of earthy fruit and spice with ... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Titus Cabernet Franc 2013

    Snoothrank:

    There was a lot going on with this wine. The nose had a hint of acidity. The taste was full bodied and the finish was long. I'd buy it again. Read More

    Wine review by tjjm


  • Rhys Vineyards Alesia Alder Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Restrained red fruit flavors. Light bodied. Easy to drink. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • The Dreaming Tree Pinot Noir 2015

    Snoothrank:

    A bit tarry, a bit floral, some cherry and simple raspberry aromas. On the palate this brings a somewhat candied red fruit palate of cherries and raspberry Jolly rancher and a touch of tarry earthiness towards the finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • J Vineyards Pinot Noir California 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Smoky, earthy and tarry with tart cherry fruit. This is puckered and tight with black cherry, earthy tar and smoke on the palate and a raisin and fig finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Peter Vella Delicious Red NV

    Snoothrank:

    Smooth and pleasantly fruity, but not too sweet. Nice balance between deep traditional red and light refreshing fruit. Read More

    Wine review by Munchichic


  • Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Syrah 2010

    Snoothrank:

    This is the 2010 vintage so lets see how it is after several years of aging.....sampling Aug 2017Nice violet hues with rusty red, brown/tawny beginnings and dark red cranberry skin coloration as well.....some particulate is swirling around so decanting is an option but not necessary. The aromas have probably given way to a degree but I am picki... Read More

    Wine review by chriscage


  • 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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