California Wine - Grapes and Wines

Grapes and Wines

Over a hundred grape varieties are grown in California including French, Italian and Spanish wine varietals as well as hybrid grapes and new vitis vinifera varieties developed at the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology. The seven leading grape varieties are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Pinot noir
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Syrah
  • Zinfandel

Other important red wine grapes include Barbera, Cabernet franc, Carignane, Grenache, Malbec, Mouvedre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese. Important white wine varietals include Chenin blanc, French Colombard, Gewürztraminer, Marsanne, Muscat Canelli, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Riesling, Roussane, Sémillon, Trousseau gris, and Viognier.

Up until the late 1980s, the Californian wine industry was dominated by the Bordeaux varietals and Chardonnay. Sales began to drop as wine drinkers grew bored with the familiarity of these wines. Groups of winemakers like Rhône Rangers and a new wine wave of Italian winemakers dubbed "Cal-Ital" reinvigorated the industry with new wine styles made from different varietals like Syrah, Viognier, Sangiovese and Pinot grigio. The Santa Cruz based Bonny Doon Vineyard was one of first wineries to promote these grape varieties in California actively. The large variety of wine grape also encourages a large variety of wines. California produces wines made in nearly every single known wine style including sparkling, dessert and fortified wines.

Read more about this topic:  California Wine

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