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

  • Matchbook

    This is a duplicate winery page of Matchbook Wine Company: http://www.snooth.com/winery/matchbo...

  • 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...

  • Carlo Rossi Vineyards

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

  • Dumol Wine Company

    Our 25 acre biodynamically farmed Estate Vineyard is located on an undulating eastfacing slope of...

  • 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

  • Ridge Lytton Springs 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Dark purplemore blue than redin the glass. Maybe I have blue on my mind, but Im getting blueberry on introduction. As the wine passes back there the fruit seems to be cloudedmay be the drying effect of tannin. Speaking of which sneaks up on me as the wine hits the rear palate. Not the biggest zin Ive ever had, and, I have to say, not nearly ... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Mauritson Wines Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Add this bold favorite to your list this season. Bold, jammy and full of spice makes this a great match for your ham or beef choices this season. Read More

    Wine review by sbr1105


  • Another maker I've never before tried.  OK, there are 1,000s of them. ... knows that by that I mean California Pinot.  Well, I get it with this one, and I've had it with other PNs in the past.  A light-bodied wine (grading on the red wine curve) that is so pretty in the glass--garnet with a lot of light coming through.  I get spice on the nose... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Wind Gap Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Very pretty garnet color with a lot of light coming through the wine in the glass. Something of a spicy (?) noseIm getting cinnamon and, maybe, clove which doesnt sound like Pinot Noir to me. Light red fruit on the tonguestrawberryand, also, a spritzy sensation on the tip of the tongue that makes me think effervescence, but there is none. Lig... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Fortress Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Deep and rich red and black fruit aromas of raspberry, strawberry and blackberry preserves, a whiff of something herbal, somewhere between earthy mushroom and green pepper. Tart and sticky on the mouth, gripping tannins and full of blackberry fruit, this turns towards bright red fruit towards the finish and mellows out with sweet spice. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Interesting group so far...3 x Barolo/Barbaresco2 x CdP2 x California 1 x California + Champagne1 x BC/ Canadian1 x Rioja1 x Brunello (could not read the other wine RCKR rec'd) Read More

    Forum post in the topic 2016 Snooth Secret Santa -...


  • DV--you kill me!BLM, you show up here, we don't necessarily drink California Cab.  If the timing is right, there's a lot of '10 Brunello, '10 Rhones, and then there are those Roclkpile Zins that never reach the East Coast.  BTW, I'd also meet you at your alma mater in Pasadena just to raid the Athenaeum's list.  Read More

    Forum post in the topic 2016 Snooth Secret Santa -...


  • Zichichi Family Vineyards Old Vine Estate Zinfandel 2013

    Snoothrank:

    This wine still has a pretty big hit of red raspberry on entry, but that diminishes quickly. Towards mid-palate I get an earthiness. Tannins are very sedate compared to my previous experience with this wine over a year ago. Tannin and acid are supportive, providing backbone, but are much more in balance with the wines fruit. I liked this win... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Angeline Pinot Noir Reserve 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Softly floral and spiced on the nose with strawberry and cherry fruit blooming alongside a smoky tar mineral note. On the palate this is reserved and restrained, with ripe cherry and cranberry notes, a fair bit of earth and spice coming through with a punch of acidity and a cool finish of sweet spice and licorice. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Bananas!Kathy - one piece of advice I'd give is that restaurants are ... ... ... too. And it does well in California of course, but there are also a lot of mass-market versions that aren't very interesting.One of the most memorable tastings I ever did was Merlot from different regions. Can't remember the year, probably around 2004 or so. Anywa... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Wine storage tips


  • Thank you very much for this information. I love the wine!. http://usaphen375.com

    Comment by 1160807capitanoensy 1160807 capitanoensy


  • Beyond the Vine (www.4beyondthevine.com) 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 red........it 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......is 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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