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

  • Zinfandel

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

  • Merlot

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

  • 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...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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...

  • Lake County

    Lake County is an emerging wine region within California’s North Coast, north of Napa. Clear La...

  • 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 Barbara County

    The Santa Barbara County AVA lies within the Central Coast territory of California. Like much o...

  • Santa Cruz Mountains

      The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is a vast region within San Francisco Bay in California’s Cen...

  • Calaveras

    is a picturesque and remote area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Popular with o...

  • Contra Costa

    The Contra Costa County AVA is located within the San Francisco Bay region of California’s Cent...

  • El Dorado County

    The spectacular Sierra Nevada range offers a fitting backdrop to the vineyards of El Dorado Count...

Popular Wineries in California View all

  • Joseph Carr

    Joseph Carr wines are produced at Larson Family Vineyards in Carneros, bordering both Napa and So...

  • Matchbook

    This is a duplicate winery page of Matchbook Wine Company:

  • 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...

  • 3 Blind Moose

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

  • Tisdale Vineyards

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

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California on Snooth

  • Markham Cellar 1879 Blend 2016


    This wine opens with a lot of red fruit. I find that a bit surprising for a Napa Valley red, but what do I know? Marginally "sweet," and quite tannic. Rough around the edges--not a particulary elegant wine--but, for $17, an absolutely terrific burger wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Lagier Meredith Syrah 2012


    Nice, mid-bodied wine. Lean, tart berry fruit. Actually, quite refreshing. Those who need a calendar to decide if they want to drink a red wine--i.e., who distain red wine in the summer--should try this one. Not a big, heavy red. To me the tannin is quite sedate. On the other hand, we'll be grilling a Tri-tip, tonight, and I look forward to... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

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  • Apsara Syrah Carneros las Madres Vineyard 2016


    Terrific berry--blueberry, blackberry--and stone fruit--black plum--on the introduction to the mouth, Nice tartness around the edges of the tongue. Some minerality. Some salinity. Fairly full=bodied. Terrific wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Kreck Teldeschi Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel 2017


    Very attractive plum color. Nose of dark berries with a suggestion of green vegetable--chard or asparagus. On the tongue I get the dark fruit--blackberry, black plum--but it is very muted. Not that blast of fruit "sweetness." Very nice. Some salinity and some astringency. A very interesting mouthfeel--somewhat "thick" and viscous, Seems t... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Mending Wall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014


    Dark fruit on the tongue--currant, blackberry, blueberry. Some leather and tobacco. A suggestion of salinity,. Plenty of acid and tannin forecasts excellent potential for improvement for those patient to let this wine sir for several more years. A big wine with a lengthy aftertaste. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Once & Future Oakley Road Vineyard Mataro 2017


    Medium-bodied wine with upfront red fruit--strawberry, red raspberry--and, maybe, some stone fruit--apricot comes to mind; Pretty good acid. Some herbalness, mid-palate. An easy-to-drink wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris Glen Oaks Vineyard 2019


    Very pretty pink color. Very reluctant nose. On the tongue the first thing I realize is that there is very little fruit, here, only the slightest suggestion of tartness--maybe green apple or maybe citrus, As the wine passes back there is some stoniness. Bone dry and very light-bodied. Another nice refreshing summer sipper. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Fetzer Eagle Peak Merlot 2017


    Pours a semi clear cherry-cranberry color, and when given a fairly aggressive swirl, it shows watery legs around the inside of the glass. Very fruity/berry aromas, along with some deep black fruit (plum/prune, blackberry), with some vanilla infused chocolate, and perhaps some muted licorice spice. The flavors follow suit for the most part....j... Read More

    Wine review by chriscage

  • Halcon Alturas Yorkville Highlands 2017


    Forest floor or, maybe, a mushroom nose. Initital tongue sensation is shy red cherry. Then I get some herbalness--almost minty. Some salinity. A slight amount of tannic puckeriness. Medium body. Pleasant finish. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

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  • 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

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