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...

  • 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...

  • Syrah

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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

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

  • Estancia Estates

    Estancia’s winemakers strive to combine the best of both worlds: a state-of-the art winemaking fa...

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Almaden Vineyards

    For over 150 years, Almaden Vineyards wines have been welcome at America's table. We offer a wide...

  • Tisdale Vineyards

    Since its inception, the hallmark of E. & J. Gallo Winery’s founders has been their unwavering co...

  • Barefoot Cellars

    We got our start as a "garage wine" back in the Sixties but really stepped up what Barefoot wa...

  • Ca' Momi Wines

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

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California on Snooth

  • I don't have time to type all this, but here goes.DM, I was mostly trying ... ... the best wine is from California, but it's too damn expensive, generally speaking.  I can buy some great Washington cab sav (in Washington) for under $20.  I haven't drank a California cab for under $20 that I'd write about.Emark,You guys (Americans) gave up Eng... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!

  • Its hard  to please three people with different tastes.Agree. ... pretty ... ... pretty much, given up on California Pinot Noir is that most examples taste like cherry cough syrup to me.  Some other Snooth Forum participants have guided me to their favorites, and I am continuing the research.  Unfortunately, I just have not had the ambition to... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!

  • Cedarville Zinfandel 2013


    Nice medium weight Zin. Perfect with venison back strap. Read More

    Wine review by dontdivedrunk

  • Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc Paso Robles 2014


    A most enjoyable 2014 grenache blanc from Tablas. There's a bit of lemon and butterscotch on the nose. The palate is creamy lemon chiffon, a hint of apricot, some really nice acidity, a medium long finish and a touch of lemon drop on the back end. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0

  • Mythmaker Monterey County Pinot Noir Rose 2014


    A Tasting Room Quarterly Selection; Pale Orange Red in the Glass. Opens with Prune & Cherry, then Honey, Cinnamon and Clove; These 3 carry over to the palate. Very light, with a medium long finish of Cherry, Candy, and baking Spice. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Halcon Alturas Yorkville Highlands 2011


    Much better than my experience with this wine a year ago. Nose of dried fruit and of black pepper. On the tongue, the dried fruit shows upapricot, prune, maybe, cranberry. Towards mid-palate earthiness, meatiness and some heat emerges. Acid suggests lemon. Quite firm, but, certainly, not upfront tannin. Lengthy, pleasant finish. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Stephen Vincent Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 2012


    At ciao Villagio Read More

    Wine review by gmb468

  • Fetzer Gewurztraminer 2012


    Aromatic and sweet. Widely approved on Thanksgiving. Read More

    Wine review by RandyFisher

  • Roederer Estate Brut l'Ermitage Vintage 2005


    Green apple, yeasty, Stoney aroma and flavors. More fruity and forward with less minerality than a champagne. Good firm structure. The finish is long and structured. Read More

    Wine review by Billdo99

  • Old World Winery Abourious Russian River Valley Sherry Martinelli Vineyard 2012


    Big hit of fruit aromas on the nose. Sure enough, an intense hit of cherries on the tip of the tongue. However, strong acid keeps it from cough syrup territory. Also, mid-palate hit of earthiness mitigates the fruit. Quite strong tannin along with the acid content makes me think that this one is a strong candidate for cellar time. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • 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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