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...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Ca' Momi Wines

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

  • Rex Goliath

    At age 70, I have had at least 50 yrs. of a glass of wine after my evening meals. Just recently,...

  • Joseph Carr

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

  • Middle Sister

    Because we remember swim lessons and day camp and beach houses. Because we forget bad boyfriends,...

  • 3 Blind Moose

    Truth be told, the moose aren’t blind. They just think it’s cool to share good wine with friends,...

  • Charles Shaw Winery

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

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California on Snooth

  • The Crusher Wilson Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008


    No written review

    Wine review by Andrew Kondrashov

  • Campion Pinot Noir Carneros 2005


    Another pinot noir past its prime. Completely my fault, I didn't realize when I bought four bottles in a sale that PN loses its fruit forwardness after just a couple of years. A great lesson learned! The nose is deceiving, because it's very pleasant. Taste is tinny, lacks character. Again, probably no fault of the wine, which may have been ... Read More

    Wine review by johanna83

  • Once Upon a Vine a Charming Pinot 2011


    Mellow, light body, berries Read More

    Wine review by bobcatpunk

  • Scoops Red Blend


    Great value for a fun little wine.juicy red fruits and silky sweetness. Enjoyed! Read More

    Wine review by kimberlyaurora

  • Alysian Pinot Noir Russian River Selection 2009


    I don't see where this wine has any finesse whatsoever. Tart, untamed acidity, decent fruit up front that degrades into a messy alcohol laden burn finish. Unstructured end with tart cranberry being the takeaway. More like a bad Nebbiolo. Highly disagree with the positive reviews on this one. Read More

    Wine review by Carlo182

  • Rex Goliath Free Range Red 2009


    Great! Read More

    Wine review by blucido85

  • Adelaida Chardonnay Hmr Estate 2011


    Great Paso chardonnay for a region not known for producing cooler climate wines. More of a California flavor profile with a fairly rich body, hints of oak, spice, subtle creme brulee, lemon zest and a touch of acidity. Not overly oaked or buttery but a nicely balanced chard with lots of nice citrus and honey in a well balanced package. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0

  • Franciscan Chardonnay 2011


    Nice California chardonnay with plenty of ripe citrus, subtle oak and decent balance. Nothing fancy or complex but a good mid-week sipper. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0

  • Paraiso Vineyards Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2009


    Wish I could get some input on what the nose is on this one. Funky, skunky, that rolls into a buttery smooth mouth feel, fizzy cherries with ripe raspberries md palate and a pleasant sweet strawberryish finish. I liked it, paired awesome with smoked salmon and a French dip wit aus jus. Can anyone help identify the nose? Reminds me of a flat ale. Read More

    Wine review by Carlo182

  • Belle Glos las Alturas Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2011


    Apricots, raisin, prunes. Super aromatic, multilayered silky Pinot. A step above Meiomi, superb Pinot. Enjoyed with crab cakes, fried Brussels sprout salad with Asian flair, Seared Ahi with Ponzu & Wasabi. Delightful. Read More

    Wine review by Carlo182

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