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

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • 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...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

  • Pinot Noir

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

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

  • 3 Blind Moose

    Truth be told, the moose aren’t blind. They just think it’s cool to share good wine with friends,...

  • Arrow Creek

    Arrow Creek wines capture the spirit of California – the freedom of open spaces, the rustic outdo...

  • Francis Ford Coppola Winery

      Francis Ford Coppola’s love for wine didn’t just sprout up overnight. His grandfather, ...

  • Canyon Road Winery

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

  • Estancia Estates

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

  • Rockledge Vineyards

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

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California on Snooth

  • The reason Portuguese wines were mostly crap was first, the government for much ... ... say it's not from California or somewhere else. Partly that's because there are a lot of international consultants working for the various houses and they're including lots of Cab, etc., in the blends. There are guys like Luis Pato making Baga in Bairrada b... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Feelings on Portuguese Wines?

  • I like Hart.  It's the very first winery you see hit as you are traveling on Rancho California Rd. from I-15--it's on the left.  It is one of the older wineries in the area.  I've had good Barbera, Syrah, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc from Hart.  Usually, the Joe Hart is working in the tasting room.  Joe just a terrific guy.  He is the founder ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hey Guys! Ive been MIA, need...

  • About a year ago, or so, there were a couple interesting conversations here ... ... as horrible as some California Chenin Blancs that I was drinking in the 70s, but not one that is going to convert me to Furmint.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Dashe Zinfandel Dry Creek 2011


    No written review

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Kenwood Vineyards Vintage Red 2010


    A bit sweet on the nose with jammy red fruits, hints of vanilla and toasty spice all topped with some leathery accents and hints of black currants. Bright at first and starting out a bit on the light side, this almost explodes on the plate revealing a delicious core of red berry cherry and strawberry tinged fruit flecked with briary spice, judic... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso Monte Rosso Vineyard 2005


    Somewhat earthy nose with a bit of berry scent and, maybe, even some orange blossom scent. Upfront berry flavors, but as the wine moves towards the back of the tongue and mid-palate there is some minerality and even some clove overtones. Some slight bitterness on the back of the palate. A bit of an unusual Zinfandel. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Slingshot Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011


    Piquant yet subtle on the nose. Round olive leaf buttressed by sweet parsnip and rose. Recognizably Cab. A true visit to the Napa Valley. Read More

    Wine review by cma238

  • Turning Leaf Pinot Noir 2012


    I really appreciate the flavor and the smell of this wine, good maturation and great value. Read More

    Wine review by MarioBignami

  • Manzanita Creek Mélange Sonoma Red Blend 2008


    A Lot 18 Seasonal Selection; Really very nice wine, very, very drinkable, lush, a big mouthful, with fruit, spice, and earth and an interesting cola and tobacco taste, but all settled and harmonious...Great deep color too... Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Running With Scissors Cabernet Sauvignon 2011


    Bought this last week. This one needs time to breathe, or decant. Nice cassis flavor, mild tannins, taste a bit of cranberry on the finish at the upper palate. Finish was extremely weak Read More

    Wine review by jamessulis

  • 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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