Although grapevine in the USA is grown in many states (E.G. Washington, Oregon, Virginia, New York, Ohio), we can easily say that wines from that country, first and foremost, are associated with California. And that’s right, since the state is the heart of the USA’s wine-growing region and provides overwhelming majority of wine production in the country. Zinfandel is the exemplary variety associated with California. Moreover, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, chardonnay, riesling, semillon and many, many other varieties are grown in here.
The first seedlings were planted on this land in 1769 by missionaries. Numerous emigrants (among others from Germany and Italy) arriving here in the mid-19th century made a remarkable contribution to spread the crops. Favourable climate and perfect locations for vineyards within the territory of the state encouraged to do so.
Two events cast a shadow over the Californian wine-growing – the plague of philoxera (which occurred here a little later than in Europe) and prohibition introduced in 1919. Both moments plunged the wine industry of that region into a very deep crisis. Nowadays, there is not a trace of that impasse left – wines from California have achieved many successes and become very popular on the European market. The famous “Judgment of Paris” organized in May 1976 by a wine specialist and journalist Steven Spurrier has already become a legend. During the wine tasting, highly regarded French specialists judged wines from California and France without any idea which wine they should expect. It turned out that the Californian wines took highest positions! This was a sensational message for the world of wine. The event is considered a turning point, the revival of the Californian wines on the European market.
Zinfandel is the exemplary variety associated with California. Moreover, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, chardonnay, riesling, semillon and many, many other varieties are grown in here. Single-variety wines are rather the essential issue. Producers quite commonly use barrels for the wine ripening process.
All kinds of wine are made in California – from simple, light ones for every day use to refined icons of the winemaking. These are dry wines as well as sweet, sparkling and fortified ones. Full range. For several decades wine law has been detailed as well as geographical division of the crops has been specified – the AVA appelation system (American Viticulture Area) is in force. California is divided into four main areas: North Coast – there are the most famous wine-growing valleys – Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, Central Coast, South Coast and Central Valley.
Clear and simple labels usually include only the relevant information, without the unnecessary complication.
California remains one of the largest wine producers in the world and a very popular place for enotourists. Wineries in that region may boast a really well prepared infrastructure – wine routes, trainings, winery tours and tasting events, everything in accordance with the highest standards.