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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

  • 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...

  • Merlot

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

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 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...

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...

  • Middle Sister

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

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

  • Carlo Rossi Vineyards

    Every year the Great Central Valley of California provides harvests of uniquely delicious grapes....

  • 3 Blind Moose

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

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California on Snooth

  • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Chardonnay 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Cool lemon, melon and apple fruit with tea leaf and spice aromas. Palate is dry but quite fruity with white peach, tangerine and melon aromas up front followed by a crisp acidity and more citrus backbone of lemon zest. Past the fruit of the mid palate this finishes creamy and assertive with notes of vanilla, allspice and a quite lengthy sustaine... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Tropical fruit aromas of mango and banana to open with notes of lemon and spice following. Juicy and full bodied in the mouth, this carries a lot of vanilla and butter notes with some tart lemon and grapefruit, a burst of acidity on the mid palate and a nuttiness to the finish that smooths out towards more citrus and cream. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Storrs Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 2013

    Snoothrank:

    This is a great wine at a price that's a bit more accessible than many similar ... best Pinot of region at the California State Fair. A truly delicious pinot that brings the Santa Cruz Mountains to life Read More

    Wine review by BYAHHH


  • Storrs Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2014

    Snoothrank:

    "This is a very intriguing, tasty and cerebral bottling from this producer, which has an urban tasting room in the heart of Santa Cruz. Aromas of Brie cheese rind, Meyer-lemon pith, light jasmine and sea-salt-crusted cashew lead into a very grippy palate laden with pomelo pith and incredibly vibrant citrus and saline flavors." - Matt Kettmann Wi... Read More

    Wine review by BYAHHH


  • Belle Glos Pinot Noir Dairyman Vineyard 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Perfect pinot for me. Very dark and velvety with a beautiful finish. Bold yet smooth with exquisitely well balanced flavors. Closer to a cabernet than any traditional pinot. Read More

    Wine review by sld1991


  • Kathy,I'll give you my Reader's Digest version.  After being ... ... age of 20, I was living in California with my partner in sin-soon to be wife.  I was from British Columbia, which then (1989) was not producing much decent wine.  So I started having a glass of wine periodically with dinner at restaurants.  Moved back to Victoria and only occ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Wine storage tips


  • Markham Merlot 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Cherry and sawdust aromas with sweet syrupy notes and a hint of blueberry on the nose. Mixed red fruit palate of cherry, strawberry and raspberry with loads of ripe flavors, a burst of acidity coming through the mid palate and a licorice, herbal earthy finish that carries a touch of vanilla and spice. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Talbott Pinot Noir Logan Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Cherry cola, raspberry, blueberry and black cherry aromas with a savory, earthy note and a hint of smoke. This is earthy and smoky on the palate, delivering good fruit flavors of raspberry and cherry amidst a charred vanilla oak musk that carries through to the finish where it meets a tart cranberry note. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Sterling Vineyards Platinum Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    Snoothrank:

    This wine is AWESOME! I wish I would have ordered an entire case when I visited Sterling back in 2014! It is luscious.....a beautiful Cab for the price! Read More

    Wine review by DAILY WHINE


  • Sandlands Carignane Mendocino County 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Lightly fruited nosered berries, some dustiness. On the tongue, again, a light hit of red raspberry very (very) little suggestion of fruit sweetness. In fact, if anything there is more a suggestion of viney bitterness. Medium-bodied. To me, this one is fairly light on tannin, and the acid seems more sour than tart. I enjoy it, but it doesn... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


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