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

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • 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...

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Charles Shaw Winery

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

  • Dark Horse Wine

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

  • Barefoot Cellars

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

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California on Snooth

  • Y Rousseau Russian River Valley Old Vine Colombard 2011


    The best French Colombard Ive ever had, it smells of citrus and white flowers on a Spring day. The palate is extremely well-balanced: slightly round on the attack with satisfying body but persistent acidity and a dusting of talc. (Despite its being a white grape, tannins are a hallmark of French Colombard.) Tangy flavors of grapefruit and tangel... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Franc Carneros Stepping Stone 2010


    Jeff Keene loves to make Cabernet Franc, and it shows in this charming, balanced wine with aromas and flavors of red fruit, dusty earth, drying leaves, mocha and foresty spice. The palate is lightly creamy with moderate, powdery tannins and mid-palate richness enhanced by St. Helena AVA Merlot (8%). Drink through 2016. 500 cases. Release date TB... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Stepping Stone By Cornerstone Syrah Napa Valley 2010


    Syrah from the Truchard Vineyard is combined with a 5% share of Carneros Merlot for an approachable yet nuanced wine. Dark flowers are followed by a touch of black pepper, then earthy spice, mineral and dark fruit on the nose. The gentle palate is medium-plus in body with tannins of chalky powder. Attractive flavors of licorice, dark and earthy ... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Stepping Stone By Cornerstone "Corralina" Rosé Napa Valley 2012


    Made entirely from Syrah picked at 22.5 brix specifically for this rosé. The pretty, light-salmon color fits aromas of just-ripe wild strawberry and mineral with delicate floral and spice notes. Soft on the palate owing to five months sur lie in neutral French oak with medium-plus body, mouthwatering wild strawberries and persistent minerality... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Tres Sabores Zinfandel Rutherford Rutherford Estate 2010


    No written review

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Tres Sabores Petite Sirah Guarino Vineyard Calistoga 2010


    An opaque wine with black ruby color and aromas of blackberry, thick black plum and sweet dark spice. Full-bodied with generous tannins, juicy blackberry, licorice and sweet dark spice. Enjoy it this fall with unctuous braised meat or hold it for 2 to 5 years. 200 cases. To be released end of March. 90 points Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Tres Sabores Rutherford Perspective Cabernet Sauvignon 2009


    An elegant nose: blackcurrant and cocoa with a trace of bay leaf. Medium-plus-bodied in the mouth with blackcurrant, powdery mocha and dark chocolate framed by medium-plus chalky and grainy tannins. Decant now or drink from 2015 to 2022. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 200 cases. 92 points Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Tres Sabores Zinfandel Rutherford Rutherford Estate 2010


    Zinfandel is the Tres Sabores Vineyards signature grape, delivering distinctive and balanced food-friendly wines that are very different from the jammy, heavily-oaked Zins which are so common today. The nose here offers fresh cherries and berries, huckleberry, white nectarine and sweet herbs with just a hint of vanilla. In the mouth, its dry and... Read More

    Wine review by Fred Swan

  • Geyser Peak Uncensored Red Blend 2010


    No written review

    Wine review by pazla

  • Beringer Vineyards Pinot Noir Napa Valley 2010


    This wine was shocking, tasted like soda pop, the wine had one dimention, soda pop fruitiness. None of the traditional characteristics of Pinot Noir, four of us tasted the wine with 3 other Pinot Noirs, none of us fined our glass. Read More

    Wine review by gentlemanjack45

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