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

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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...

  • Chardonnay

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

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

  • Livingston Cellars

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

  • Rex Goliath

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

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Dumol Wine Company

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

  • Dark Horse Wine

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

  • Glass Mountain

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

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California on Snooth

  • I know what I like and know something about wines but still have quite a bit to ... ... wihite wines.  As a Californian, I, of course, would not suggest that you shy away from California exampl Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!


  • The Stringer California Chardonnay 2013

    Snoothrank:

    A Lot 18 quarterly selection. Pear and peach with nutmeg and allspice as it opens. More peach and pear. Fruit forward Chardonnay with minimal oak and very light body and light acidity. Nothing that special, though at the price point would suspect this one compares very favorably with others in this price. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Rockpool 2012 Merlot Monterery County 2012

    Snoothrank:

    A Tasting Room quarterly selection. Opens with blackberry jam and vanilla, then to toffee and milk chocolate, and then caramel chocolate. Moss, earth, and smoke with ripe cherry plums. Medium to soft tannins with medium acidity. Long finish of earth, herbs, and dried dark fruit. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County 2003

    Snoothrank:

    Was a bit anxious about this one since it was a gift from a neighbor/friend and storage was questionable. Initial taste on opening was that this was a bit "hot", which at 15.8% abv wasn't unexpected. Visual inspection showed only slight bricking on the rim with a nice ruby core. On the nose is more heat and some smoke and dry earth. After 1-2 ho... Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Actually, Kenzo is a vanity brand that is relatively new to the scene. I first ... ... into fronting for that California operation and its marketing arms. Known nowadays for throwing money at problems, whereas back when he was making his money 30 years ago not so. Coming out of Osaka has been brasher and tending more towards compensating moti... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines


  • Siduri Pinot Noir Keefer Vyd Russian River 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Burgundy. Cargassachi and Lee 2012. - burgundy. blackberry. Tasted again May 2, 2015. Read More

    Wine review by William Djubin


  • Maclaren Wines Maclaren Syrah Judge Family Vineyard 2009

    Snoothrank:

    Not bad but not great Sonoma (Bennett Valley) syrah. Dark ripe berries on the nose with a hint of tobacco. Lots of ripe blackberry, a bit of earthiness, some cola, ripe black cherry and a touch of cedar on the palate. The acidity is fairly bright but the tannins are a bit short and the finish is of medium length. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • The Rogue Wave Pinot Noir Monterey County 2013

    Snoothrank:

    A Tasting Room Quarterly Selection. Pale and thin Ruby color in the glass. Opens with Strawberry, green leaf, and vanilla, then goes to thyme, marjoram, under ripe cherry and kiwi. Medium Tannins and Acidity. with a long finish of cherry and strawberry with oak and pine. Becomes more earthy and mossy as it sits in the glass. Feels old world to m... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Landmark Chardonnay Overlook Sonoma County 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Very intriguing buttery yet floral aromas of candied hazelnuts, baked green apples, vanilla and caramel. Full mouthfeel, creamy and rich, with melon and lemon notes, light banana and coconut touches, and a smooth long finish. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Adelaida Zinfandel Michael's Estate Vineyard 2011

    Snoothrank:

    After a long weekend tasting Dry Creek Valley zins, came home and decided to try a Paso zin. This is a really nice wine from Adelaida with a bunch of black fruit and a touch of eucalyptus on the nose. There's blueberry pie, vanilla, blackberry, very nice acidity and some nice green plum on the palate. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • 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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