– The legendary land of golden rush, extravagance and adventure
What do you think first when we say „The Golden State“?
Is it the iconic Golden Bridge in San Francisco? The magnificent Yosemite National Park or one of the wonders of the world Grand Canoyon? Many imagine the exuberant life of Las Vegas or the luxury beaches of Santa Monica.
The story of winemaking in California begins with the story of the Spanish in California in 17th century, when vineyards were planted so there would be wine for communion. However, classic viticulture as we know it today did not flourish until the first half of the 19th century, when Southern California was considered to be the epicenter of viticulture. Settlers, mainly colonists from France and Italy, were inspired to head north during the Gold Rush (1848-1855) and lay the foundations for today's famous regions such as Napa and Sonoma. They brought with them not just European varieties, but especially the desire to grow the vines. In the years 1918-1933, thanks to a strong prohibition in the United States, viticulture withdrew from its development. However, it has been experiencing a huge rise again since the early 1970s and is still gaining momentum. California is gradually becoming one of the world's dominant wine regions.
The California land offers a numbers of surprises and much greater diversity than it might be seem at first glance. It is often considered as mainly sunny and warm country. However, there is a significant differences in climate and terrain. From flat plains and rolling hills to mountain slopes and valleys protected from the elements. This provides a range of soils and microclimate, from coastal areas that help cool climates grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to warm, sunny inland areas that are ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The geographical distribution of California is as follows: the Nord Coast, Sierra Foothills, Central Coast, South Coast and Central Valley, which is one of the sunniest wine regions in the world. Probably the most famous California AVA is the Napa Valley, where some of the best California wines come from. Other important areas are Sonoma, Mendocino and Carneros.
The GI system is referred to herein as the American Viticulture Area (AVA) and means that each bottle of California wine indicates the geographical origin where the grapes were grown. In order for a wine to have the name AVA on its label, at least 85% of the grapes must be grown in that AVA; for the region designation it is 75%. And any wine bearing the name "California" or any California AVA label guarantees that 100% of the grapes are grown in California.
The traditional problem of California winemaking is water shortages. There have been regulations and disputes over irrigation many times in the past. California summers tend to be much drier than summers in most of Europe's wine regions. Average precipitation is not exceptionally low, but it is usually concentrated in the first months of the year. The winemakers came up with a way to at least partially solve the problems. The rain fills the tanks, which are then used for irrigation during the dry summer.
California winemaking is often celebrated for their red wines. They are made with a focus on the softness of "the final taste", where the grapes remain on the vines during long autumn until the tannin is ripe enough to delight the palate. They have a very intense fruity aroma and a very delicate taste. Today, however, we can already find white wines that can boldly compete with the best French white wines.
Whether you are an enthusiastic beginner in the wine world who likes to discover new tastes or you are an experienced connoisseur and wine lover… California is one of the wine region you should not miss.
It has a lot to offer…