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...

  • 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...

  • Syrah

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

  • 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...

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

  • Dark Horse Wine

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

  • Dumol Wine Company

    Our 25 acre biodynamically farmed Estate Vineyard is located on an undulating eastfacing slope of...

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

  • Almaden Vineyards

    For over 150 years, Almaden Vineyards wines have been welcome at America's table. We offer a wide...

  • Barefoot Cellars

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

  • Joseph Carr

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

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California on Snooth

  • JD, you like Sanford PNs? I have too many memories of off aromatics and imbalanced structure, sitting trying to drink some on the Santa Barbara pier, since that's where I had them most often for some reason. That was '80s into the '90s and I haven't had any this millenium because of those very uneven stabs at pinot-ness I kept encountering. Perh... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Patz & Hall Pinot Noir Gaps Crown Vineyard 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Confused by the full body? Not what I expected. Apologies. I do love Burgundy wine. Read More

    Wine review by William Djubin


  • Seek out Liquid Farm and Clos Pepe if you like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sanford too for that matter.Also Dragonette if you want to mix in some Sauv Blanc and Syrah. Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Where was your link to, Mark?  LOL, check what I got when I clicked on it: "403: Access ForbiddenYour location (JP) has been blacklisted." Someone must think Japan is North Korea...  Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Bedrock Wine Co. Dolinsek Ranch Heritage Russian River Valley 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Very bright garnet color. Lots of berry fruit on the nose. Nicely lean on entry to the palatesome red raspberry flavor but, definitely, not the jammy Zinfandel thing, here. Not terribly full-bodied. Towards the back there is some more fruitiness that makes you think sweet, but, then there is also some woodiness that quickly erases that. Ver... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Oops! I'm new here, so I sent you a private message by accident, EMARK. Thanks for your recommendations. I'll look into them! Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Welcome to the Forum, PHound and thanks for the tip on Demetria--another one that I've never heard of.From where in S. Calif. are you starting?  Are you only spending a day in the wine country?  Unless you come back and advise me otherwise I'll assume that this is a one-day trip, and, so, you are somewhat limited in the geography you can check o... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • I go to S. Calif every winter to visit family and drive up to Santa Barbara for a day to visit vineyards. We've now been to quite a few vineyards and among our favorites are Zaca Mesa, Koehler and Bridlewood.  But the stand-out vineyard was Demetria. You need a reservation to visit, but it's worth it. It's at the end of a long winding private ro... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Welcome, Bantony. A fair amount of Cabernet fans live here, and I am one of ... ... fan and I am definitly a California bigot--to the disappointment of some.  Rest assured there are participants here who will be more than eager to point you to many new wine adventures.  Just let us know which direction you would like to be pointe Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!


  • Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Ripe pear with floral notes on the nose. Nice acidity and ripe fruit sweetness with a clean soft finish. Paired well with the spice meatballs my daughter brought for Christmas. Read More

    Wine review by RandyFisher


  • 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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