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...

  • 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...

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Joseph Carr

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

  • Glass Mountain

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

  • Sullivan Vineyards

    Arriving in the Napa Valley in 1972, Jim and JoAnna Sullivan purchased property in Rutherford, wh...

  • Cupcake Vineyards

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

  • Dark Horse Wine

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

  • Purple Moon Winery

    About  Purple Moon Shiraz: The first bottle we tried, we could not believe how good the wine...

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California on Snooth

  • Wente Vineyards Pinot Noir Riva Ranch 2012


    Cherry cola and cinnamon notes on the nose with classic black cherry and vanilla supporting. Elegant notes of black cherry, dark chocolate and licorice on the palate, with some clove and cedar notes, a touch of black pepper and a finish of vanilla.88 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Miner the Oracle 2011


    Elegant and herbal notes of ripe raspberry and cranberry fruit with a bold note of vanilla. Powerful and pronounced on the palate, with spicy flavors of cream and big bunches of red fruit, black olive and dark chocolate, some licorice and leather notes.90 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • David Akiyoshi Petite Sirah Clarksburg 2013


    A Naked Wines selection -Dark, Dense, and Ink in the Glass. Opens with very ripe peach and sherry, on to a plum and rhubarb reduction/compote, then bright strawberry and cherry with a background scent of musk and earth. Still young, with it seems, plenty of aging potential. Bright Tannins and Acidity, with chocolate, black pepper, and clove, wit... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Baileyana Firepeak Chardonnay 2013


    2013 Baileyana, Firepeak -- What a disappointment. Was hoping for a rich chardonnay, but this is an acidic, sharp, one dimensional boring wine. No nuance, no complexity. Not recommended. Read More

    Wine review by kamivina

  • Rodney Strong Merlot Sonoma County 2011


    A touch herbal on the nose with cherry and raspberry notes. Sharp and fresh on the attack, with ripe red cherry and raspberry notes towards the midpalate and a candied finish touched by clay.87 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Old Moon Zinfandel Old Vine 2013


    Wonderful 7 dollar price point for such an enjoyable Zinfandel. Black plum and spicy notes with a hint of vanilla. Strong flavor of the Bing cherry we all love. Very much a fruit bomb with a lingering taste of the above composited.Go get some, you will not be disappointed. Read More

    Wine review by jamessulis

  • Wente Vineyards The Nth Degree Cabernet Sauvignon Livermore Valley 2012


    The rich blackberry and black currant on the nose is smooth and elegant and carries just a hint of herb. Full bodied and round in the mouth with excellent balance between the acidity, tannins and fruit. Blueberry and blackberry notes play against cinnamon and vanilla, leading to a long chewy finish of chocolate.90 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Franzia Zinfandel California White Zinfandel 2003


    I like this wine because I can pair it with sweet foods. I also like that it's not too strong and I can drink it with most dinners. It stays fresh and lasts longer than most bottled wines. I was surprised to find out that I liked a boxed wine since I had not had good experiences with other boxed wines. Read More

    Wine review by LovelyRaindrop

  • Iron Horse Vineyards Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2010


    Enjoyable bubbles from Russian River's Iron Horse. Crisp, lemon pith, good acidity, some nice biscuity/yeasty flavor and a fairly long finish. One thing a bit different is a very noticeable saltiness that comes out on the finish, not bad, just different. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0

  • Good to hear from you, NG. I've been rarely about, but I may still have you ... the Loire and Graves, not on California SB (though I helped my sister choose Mondavi Fume Blanc for one of her Wedding Reception wines way back when). So Dog Point comes across to me like a ninja fake on Cloudy Bay styling.. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines

  • Thank you very much for this information. I love the wine!.

    Comment by 1160807capitanoensy 1160807 capitanoensy

  • Beyond the Vine ( 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 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 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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