Wine from California shines like the sun that ripens its grapes. As one of the world’s premier wine growing regions, California produces 90% of all the wine grown in America.
The distinct character of California wine depends greatly on where in the state the grapes are grown. The landscape is quite geologically and climatically diverse. California’s fine wines grow primarily along the western side of the state, where the vines are cooled by coastal breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean. Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc, and Sonoma’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay flourish in this cooler climate. The mountain ranges protecting Napa Valley and Paso Robles shield those grapes from the fog off the Pacific and allow warmer days and perfect ripening conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel.
The soils in California are as diverse as its people. Sand, clay, granite, ancient sea beds, limestone cliffs, volcanic ash, river-run gravel all offer their own distinctive minerality to the wines.
Categorized as a New World style, Californian wines tend to be fruit focused and powerful. The warmer areas allow ultra ripe flavors as well as higher alcohols. Maverick winemakers continue to explore new ways of expressing the terroir and showing each varietal’s true potential.