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Californian wine constitues 89% of all American wine production and with 213,000 hectares of vines it produces an enormous amount. If it were a country California would be the fourth biggest wine producing nation in the world. The land is split into many sub regions. The more famous are the Napa Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley and Alexander Valley to name but a few. The soils and climates across this huge territory differ massively as do the wines, which tend to come from many different varieties of European grapes but also from Zinfandel, the American name for the Italian Primitivo variety.

Vines were introduced here in the 18th Century by the Spanish and the industry continued to grow until the Phylloxera pest arrived in the late 1800s. However, unlike in Europe, the region was prepared and had the remedy of American rootstock standing by, allowing them to emerge from this epidemic better than their European counterparts. Despite this the prohibition in the 1920s caused the demise of many a Californian winery. Nevertheless, the region went on to get a reputation in the 1960s for sweet wines before pioneers like Robert Mondavi, seen as the figurehead of the American wine revolution, started performing wonders. California finally came to fame as a wine region in 1976 when the wines were introduced to a famous wine-fair in Paris, France, and beat all the French wines, including some very highly-rated Bordeaux, in both the red and white categories and has continued to produce exceptional fine wines since.


Video: California Wine Tour

  1. Opus One, Napa Valley, Mondavi, 1980

    Opus One, Napa Valley, Mondavi, 1980

    Opus One was a joint enterprise between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild combining in a new venture in California's Napa Valley. It was produced from the traditional Bordeaux grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot with the first mentioned variety being predominant.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country USA


    Out of stock

  2. Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1997

    Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1997

    Robert Mondavi was one of the pioneers of the resurgent California wine industry in the mid 1960s and could be said to be responsible for making the Napa Valley known for wines of outstanding quality.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country USA

    Out of stock

  3. Sutter Home Zinfandel, California, 1973

    Sutter Home Zinfandel, California, 1973

    Sutter Home is one of the leading Californian producers of Zinfandel wines.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Zinfandel
    Country USA


    Out of stock

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