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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Charles Shaw Winery

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

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Rockledge Vineyards

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

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

  • Dumol Wine Company

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

Page 1 of 1,000

California on Snooth

  • Fields Family Wines Syrah 2012

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a lovely bright ruby color in the glass with nice clarity. The nose is classic Syrah, with a good bit of pepper, violet and that classic twang of tart cherry and fresh herbs. The taste is really quite nice, with a blast of tart cherry up front that quickly subsides to some rich, jammy flavors of blackberry and plum midpalate that j... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • McCay Cellars Viognier 2014

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a pale amber in the glass while the nose is a rather subdued combination of pear and violets. The taste is quite well developed, with lovely flavors of pear, violet and a good bit of minerality. It's not as crisp and shocking to the palate like some white wines can be, but rather has more subdued acidity and a full mouthfeel that m... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Uvaggio Rosato 2014

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a lovely vivid pink color in the glass. The nose expresses lovely notes of cherry, plum and rose petals. The taste is quite unexpected, with some bright berry notes up front that yield to tart cherry and some mineral notes of iron midpalate. The finish is quite nice but not particularly long, but quite dry. I'll admit that based ... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Harney Lane Zinfandel Lodi Old Vine Lizzy James Vineyard 2012

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a lovely deep garnet color in the glass. The nose is just fantastic, with jammy fruit, blackberry, plum and some earthy notes of leather and toasted oak. The taste is surprisingly crisp despite the jammy fruit on the nose, with some notes of tart cherry, blackberry and plum and a hint of rosemary and vanilla. Really nice complexit... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a deep ruby along the edges leading to an inky purple at the center, just what you like to see in a quality Cabernet. The nose is a lovely bouquet of ripe dark fruit, blackberries, plum and cassis that just exude quality. The taste is much more refined than the typical big Napa Cab, it reminds me more of the great blends of Bordeau... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Gnarly Head Merlot California 2012

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a dark indigo at the center, with some brighter garnet along the edges. The nose exhibits merlot characteristics, with aromas of blackberries, leather, cherry cola and dried herbs. The taste was rather subdued, despite the marketing pitch on the label, with some sweet, jammy fruit up front, blackberries and plum that transitions to... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Saddleback Cellars Merlot Oakville 2005

    Snoothrank:

    The color in the glass is a nice garnet with very nice clarity despite its maturity. The nose is a lovely combination of ripe berries, red plum and macerated cherries, overlaid with a bit of leather and moss, reminiscent of some wonderful French Bordeaux. The taste is a rush of ripe fruit up front, raspberries, blackberries and plum that trans... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a deep brooding, inky color that's so classic of a great Napa Cabernet. The nose is a lovely combination of leather, cassis, baking spice and just a hint of mint. The taste is just classic, a rush of ripe black fruit, blackberry, plum and a bit of coriander that transition effortlessly to some spice notes of vanilla bean and anise ... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Heritance Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a somewhat lighter ruby color in the glass with great clarity. The nose is a rich combination of blackberry, leather and smoke that awaken your senses, The taste is a blast of ripe fruit up front, with blackberry and blueberry, that transition nicely to some notes of creme brulee midpalate. The finish is delightful, as the still f... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • Oakville East Exposure 2011

    Snoothrank:

    The wine is a lovely, dark, brooding indigo in the glass with bright ruby around the edges. The nose is classic Oakville Cabernet, with notes of oak, leather and violet over just a hint of blackberry. The taste is just awesome, with a blast of ripe fruit up front, blackberry, cherry and raspberry that wash over you. The ripe fruit transitions... Read More

    Wine review by jtryka


  • 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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