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

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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

  • Middle Sister

    Because we remember swim lessons and day camp and beach houses. Because we forget bad boyfriends,...

  • Livingston Cellars

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

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

  • Joseph Carr

    Joseph Carr wines are produced at Larson Family Vineyards in Carneros, bordering both Napa and So...

  • Tisdale Vineyards

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

  • Carlo Rossi Vineyards

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

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California on Snooth

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  • It really depends on the store and if it's part of a large chain, on the ... you that in some places in California, wine is treated like any other inventory item. It goes on the shelf and if it sits there for too long, it goes into the clearance rack. If you're lucky enough to have a nearby store with a good selection, you can pick up some out... Read More

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  • Gnarly Head Lodi Zinfandel Old Vine Zin Lodi


    Zins were always my favorites and where I started from, but this very flavour specificaly is a category that don't understand... I've found it in several Zins, that I can't drink - it always bring me to abythy and doom of death for some reason. Deep overwhelming bold greens - that's how I would describe this. Very signature flavour to me persona... Read More

    Wine review by ApelsecS

  • Limerick Lane Russian River Valley Petite Sirah 2014


    Introductory fruit of blackberry, Some nice dustiness or minerality, "Thick" viscous mouthfeel. As the wine warms from cellar temperature, I notice slight tartness, Nicely full-bodied, Quite lengthy aftertaste. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Bedrock Wine Co. T 'n' S Blocks Hudson Vyd. South Syrah 2016


    Candied fruit--blackberry, plum, citrus (lime) peel. However, the "canddied" descriptor is sufficiently offset by lively acid. A medium-bodied wine.Somewhat lean. Solid wine Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Beckmen Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard Ballard Canyon 2016


    Opaque purple color with a "rasiny" nose. A very subtle introduction of dark fruit, but what is really noticeable is acid "spritziness" around the edges of the tongue. Some spiciness with suggestions of cinnamon, nutmeg clove, but also a hint of orange, Fairly full-bodied, although, certainly not the biggest wine, Still some unresolved tannin. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Epoch Estate Wines Estate Blend 2015


    Opens with red fruit--cranberry, red plum, strawberry. Acid tartness led me to calling out cranberry. Some baking spices. Tannin seems to sneak up on me. Good wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Halcon Alturas Yorkville Highlands 2018


    Dark berry fruit. Then I notice that this wine is more full-bodied than previous vintages. Very interesting. Also seems to be more tannic than previous efforts. Over the last five or six years I have enjoyed this bottling, but I really like the direction this is going. A much more fulfilling wine. Multiple thumbs up, Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Myriad Whole Cluster las Madres Vineyard Syrah 2015


    Delightful nose of violets and berries. Quite subdued berry--blueberry, blackberry--fruit on entry. Not as tart as my previous review in 2018. On the surface this doesn't seem like a particularly sophisticated wine, but surface observations may be faulty. Mid-to-rear palate I am getting retro-nasal sensations that mimic the nose and seem like... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • That was weird, take a break and  someone steps in for you. Mark, ... ... being fruit bombs Zuf. California still getting no love. That’s ok, more wine for me.glad you liked it Mark, I haven’t opened one yet.Cheers! &nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

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

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  • 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, ...

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  • 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.

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