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...

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • 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...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • 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

  • Barefoot Cellars

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

  • Livingston Cellars

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

  • Charles Shaw Winery

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

  • Ca' Momi Wines

    "Ca’ Momi” wines are named for our family home in Northern Italy. The name also pays tribute to M...

  • Rockledge Vineyards

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

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

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California on Snooth

  • Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Papera Vineyard Russian River Valley 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Very pretty on the nose, with lovely subtle earthy complexity and an oily nuttiness, along with classic briary fruit. This shows nicely balanced structure that yields a balanced yet firm texture supporting very aromatic savory, briary, almost earthy fruit on the palate that turns slightly floral on the back end. The tannins here are quite refine... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Carlisle Zinfandel du Pratt Vineyard Mendocino County 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Tight with an early note of exotic grapefruit/passion fruit, accenting the red and blue fruit of the nose. This is medium light bodied and finely balanced, with a lovely texture that is almost supple but still shows good tension in the mouth. Red currant and subtle frutti del bosco flavors shine on the palate, with a nice streak of vanilla with ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Nalle Henderlong Ranch Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Super powerful and intense on the nose, with dusty, oily, briary, super-focused essence of Zin berry fruit aromas. This shows great intensity without weight on the palate in a high acid, transparent style that reveals deep, old vineyard character and palate-staining intensity of spicy blackberry and red cherry fruit that shows wonderful persiste... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Florence Vineyard Dry Creek Valley 2010

    Snoothrank:

    A really lovely intense nose that layers briar, bramble and sandy soil tones over fine strawberry fruit. The oak treatment here is obvious but nuanced, allowing the intense yet pure and fresh wild strawberry and black raspberry fruit to shine on the palate, gaining a layer of chocolate-covered orange slice complexity on the gorgeous, firm and al... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Bliss Family Vineyards Brutocao Zinfandel Mendocino 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Chocolatey and ripe on the nose with vanilla and a little coconut layered over black cherry fruit. This is bright and juicy in the mouth, with layers of blue fruit, raspberry and red currant flavors topped with gentle spice, yielding to a light finish that shows a hint of firmness. 86 points Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Pedroncelli Winery & Vineyards Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Pedroni-Bushnell Vineyard 2009

    Snoothrank:

    With a nose thats a bit smoky and oily, this remains attractive with deep, dark berry fruit. Firm in the mouth, if a bit hollow across the mid-palate, this lacks some detail but does offer up a nice, elegant and firm core of black cherry and blackberry fruit that finishes with a bit of dry tannin. A bit old school. 87 points Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Pedroncelli Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Mother Clone 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Very pretty, and very Dry Creek Valley, with lovely, nice briary fruit thats full of crushed raspberry and wild cherry nuances. A little plump and easy going, but varietally spot-on with fairly deep Zin berry fruit, good acidity that accents tart cherry flavors on the back end, and a little tannic bite on the modest finish. Also a bit four-squar... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Jaxon Keys Zinfandel Etta's Block 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Dark, oily and extracted on the nose with floral top notes and oily seed aromas,. The nose does offer up some fine fresh perfumes of wild fruit. On the palate theres an early rush of blackberry fruit in a lighter style, decidedly medium body with lovely bright fruit, zesty berry flavors and fine tannins that lead to a moderately long finish. 8... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Quivira Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Smoky, burning chaparral top notes greet the nose followed by subtle toasting Middle Eastern spice notes over red berry fruit. Theres a little pine-like note adding freshness on the light and zesty entry, which is followed by rich blackberry fruit that's a little tight and earthy with a nice briary edge. 89 points Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Easton Zinfandel Amador County 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Nice and precise on the nose, with slightly herbal, chaparral brush and edgy, wild berry fruit aromas. In the mouth there are lovely herbal shadings to the core of dark cherry fruit. This is smooth and supple, with nice soft tannins and integrated acidity, and while it does turn just a little jammy on the finish, its a very happy wine. 90 points Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


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