California is the third largest state in the US, spanning 163,696 square miles of American soil. Beautiful coastal regions stretch the state’s entire length, crawling from majestic Redwood forests in the north to vast deserts in the south. In the heart of the state lies the Central Valley, wherein agriculture thrives and over 230 crops are grown.
Scattered throughout this spectacular state are some of the world’s premier wine regions and vineyards. Award-winning and loved internationally, California wine was the natural choice for the second installment in the brand new Cellars Wine Club Blog series, “A World of Wine.”
So without further ado, please enjoy this unique infographic on the wine of California. For more information on the fascinating history of California wine, read the article posted beneath the infographic.
The History of California Wine
California wine is older than the state itself. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Consider the Conquistador Cortés in 1520, bringing the “common black grape” to the beautiful New World. Then, consider the 18th century Spanish traveling through Latin America into what would later become California. As the they explored and built missions, they grew a descendant of the common black grape for the purpose of religious sacraments and general enjoyment. This descendant, called Vitis vinifera, became Californian soil’s first vine experience.
The wine industry in California expanded throughout the 19th century, growing quickly as settlers flooded into the valleys. Even after the phylloxera epidemic destroyed hundreds of vineyards late in the century, resistant rootstocks were grafted and the industry continued to expand. Almost 800 wineries thriving by the turn of the century, using over 300 varieties of grapes.
California was on the verge of international acclaim. Then, January 16, 1919, the 18th Amendment was instigated and began the infamous Prohibition. Vineyards across the state were uprooted and wineries were banned, falling into the ruin. Only 140 wineries remained upon the Prohibition’s repeal 14 years later.
Recovery hasn’t been easy; but wine in California continued to be of irrefutable quality, building the state’s viticultural recognition at lightning speeds. Worldwide acclamation was heard when, in 1976, a now-famous tasting event called The Judgment of Paris resulted in California wines gaining worldwide fame for winning in both red and white wine categories. Demand spread quickly, with California exports including the European Union, China, Canada, and Japan. Recent statistics reveal that the state is home to 1,200 wineries, and over 480,000 acres of planted vineyards spread across 206 official AVAs (regions).
California wine has experienced a long and turbulent history. But it has emerged victorious, producing over 90% of the wine in America. Wonderful winery tours are available for those near the state, and the delicious product of said wineries are available to everyone else.
More To Come
We hope you’ve enjoyed the California wine experience! Keep an eye out for our next installment: Lovely Italy.
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