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...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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...

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

  • Glass Mountain

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

  • Livingston Cellars

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

  • Carlo Rossi Vineyards

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

  • Sullivan Vineyards

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

  • Rockledge Vineyards

    High on the eastern slopes of Napa Valley just south of the town of St. Helena is a saddle covere...

  • Barefoot Cellars

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

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California on Snooth

  • Apsara Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch 2014

    Snoothrank:

    Nice enough Sonoma County blend of sauv blanc and sauv musque. The nose is all about ripe grapefruit and a bit of something floral. Ripe white grapefruit on the palate, decent acidity but with a bit of a metallic twinge on the back end. Liked this but enjoyed the Rivers Reach more. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Continuing the survey of 1997 Cabernet Sauvignons in my inventory, I had this ... I have ever had.  For California CS denigrators, I have to say this is definitely not a fruit bomb.Still two more '97s to go in my inventor Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Napa Valley 1997

    Snoothrank:

    Dark opaque purple color. No apparent bricking. Somewhat volatile nose with some dark fruit hints, some wood. Somewhat tight on first taste. Some cassis flavor some prune flavor. A still powerful wine although the tannins are fairly resolved. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Hahn Boneshaker Zinfandel 2012

    Snoothrank:

    This is my 1100th wine, that's it. And today is April 20, 2015. Read More

    Wine review by Mr Dolce


  • F.Stephen Millier Black Label Reserve Petite Sirah Calaveras County 2013

    Snoothrank:

    A Naked Wines Selection. Dark, inky, and intense in the glass. Opens with dried sage and mint, then vanilla and roasted plum preserves with a long savory finish of dried herbs, black cherry, blackberry, and moss. Big mouthfull, well rounded, with balanced medium tannins and acidity. A knockout at the Angel price and at the $22.99, not bad either. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Gina, I am going to second the recommendation that you open these up and try ... years ago, I recall seeing California bottlings labeled Johannisberg Riesling and White Riesling.  My recollection is that Johannisberg Riesling and White Riesling were the same grape variety, and Grey Riesling was a different variety.Well a quick trip to Wikipedi... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth! Need a little...


  • Wilde Farm Donnelly Creek Pinot Noir Anderson Valley 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Fairly dark color in the glass blocking much light. Quite pleasant nosecherry ... is within one sigma of all California Pinot Noir Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • It's the last paragraph that's most frightening.  Beckstoffer ... ... all the poor winemakers in California? The key words, "Andy is no dummy" Read More

    Forum post in the topic At what price Cabernet? The...


  • "Guess what day it is"  It's Wednesday, April 15th ... ... area, similar to Northern California's Mavericks, on the coast of France. Anne's fruit came from the 2nd pick and she used a non-interventionist approach. It saw no stems, no adds and 20% new oak. The resulting wine had a bold nose of dried fruit and earth and gave notes of ripe/rich b... Read More

    Forum post in the topic A day in the life, 2015 Las...


  • Sorry, Al 1.  I can't help you.  I might suggest, though, that ... (no surpise, there, it is a California Pinot Noir, afterall), but it is a fruit flavor that is somewhere between red cherry and strawberry--with about the same detectable sweetness of a not-quite-ripe example of either.  Definitely more full-bodied than the Ceritas, which means... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • 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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