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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Tisdale Vineyards

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

  • Glass Mountain

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

  • Joseph Carr

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

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Francis Ford Coppola Winery

      Francis Ford Coppola’s love for wine didn’t just sprout up overnight. His grandfather, ...

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

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California on Snooth

  • Volar Lodi Zinfandel 2012

    Snoothrank:

    A Lot 18 Selection - interesting, these are the Tasting Notes:'...A bit lighter in color than you'd expect, this Zin surprises with a boom of raspberry, blackberry and blood orange aromas. The berry flavors, in particular, carry over to the palate, along with notes of ripe cherry and chocolate, all combining and leading to a long finish. There's... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel San Francisco Bay Carla's Vineyard 2003

    Snoothrank:

    Big nose with input from an array of aromasdefinitely big berry fruit, but also some alcoholic hints and some smoky hints. Big blast of fruitcherry and blackberryon the front of the tongue. Definitely alcohol on the back of the palate. Subsequent tastes suggest an unbalance with the alcohol. Fruitiness on introduction is exacerbated by the s... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Some years ago I was a very big fan of Rosenblum Zinfandels.  Something ... Bay in Contra Costa County, California.  The sparse production per vine and the cool evening breezes produce perfectly ripe Zinfandel fruit."The vineyards are named after long-time grower Tony Cutino's daughter, Carla Meadows, who has been a superlative supporter of sa... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Jeff Runquist Amador County Barbera 2012

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by anchca


  • Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2012

    Snoothrank:

    The 2012 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was Opulent and Blackberry.. Not the typical Strawberry.. but balanced and Blackberry. Decanted, Aired and enjoyed over a 2 1/2 hour 5 course dinner. My guests would rate this wine higher than WS or Tanzer, so I rated this Pinot for the Customer. Read More

    Wine review by William Djubin


  • Robert Keenan Winery Chardonnay Spring Mountain 2012

    Snoothrank:

    More oak in the nose than Im used to from this winery. On the palate, though, fruit is more apparent than buttery oak. Nice tartness that suggests lemon or grapefruit, peach, or, even, pineapple. I very refreshing wine whose flavor profile returns to right what I would expect from Keenan. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Welcome to the Snooth Forum, Carippee.  We are pleased to have some more ... ... of the best Barbera in California comes from this regionAnd by the way, I admire your support of local makers.  Please continue to share your experiences with their wines.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!


  • Mise En Scène Russian River Pinot Noir 2012

    Snoothrank:

    A Lot 18 Selection. A bit too light and fruit forward for me. The tasting notes stated '...lush and full...' hardly what I noted, in fact it felt the opposite to me, but perhaps that was after trying the Monte del Conde Crianza....will try again this evening.,Finished it off yesterday and it was quite a bit better, I am sure from the lack of a c... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Five Rivers Pinot Noir 2012

    Snoothrank:

    A light pinot. Very fruity, mainly raspberry, cherry with some strawberry. Not sophisticated, but pleasant and interesting to drink. A good companion to lighter food, fresh pasta with fresh tomatoes or shrimp or salmon. Read More

    Wine review by gwyneddgal


  • Jack Nicklaus Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Usa 2009

    Snoothrank:

    I was excited and anxious to try this 2009 Private Reserve. Thanks for the opportunity to share. The wine was Big, Fruit-forward, Dry and soft on tannin's and mineral , not sure how it finished- I only got the Nose. Read More

    Wine review by William Djubin


  • 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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