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Grape Press

Wine making in California, otherwise known as the Golden State, can be traced back to late in the 18th century, when Spanish missionaries from Mexico arrived in California with knowledge of the wine making process. California has the perfect climate for growing grapes, and with some two and half centuries of experience the region produces some of the best wines in the world, much to the delight of American wine enthusiasts.

Indeed California's wines are in high demand, with an average increase in international sales of just under 20% per year over the last twenty years. Even recent years have shown the immense growth in Californian wine making, with 850 wine cellars in 1998, steady growth in the industry means that today there are over 1,300 wineries in the Golden State. More than forty red wine grape varietals and over 26 white wine grape varietals are produced in California.

Some experts point to a trend in Californian wine making over the last two decades which has shown a marked shift in the attitude of wine makers concerning the importance of the vineyards and the wine grape. Today the wine maker's knowledge of a the vineyard from which grapes will be sourced is considered to be one of the most important aspects of the wine maker's job. The ripeness, acid levels and flavour of the grapes, as well as the general condition of the vineyard are important to the wine maker, and as such close lines of communication must be kept between the growers and the wine makers from the time the grapes are growing till when they arrive at the wine press. Many times the wine maker and vineyard manager work together with a common goal and idea of what type of wine they will produce.

After Italy, France and Spain, California's production of wine is the fourth largest in the world. Eighteen percent of all wine produced in this region is exported to 125 countries around the world, including Britain, Canada, Germany and Japan. There are wines produced to cater for all price brackets, from wines lining supermarket shelves to exclusive wines that are harder to get hold of.

Reliable quality standards and diversity are what California wines are known for. This is because of a combination of elements; the wine makers in the region have a strongly developed sense of individuality, coupled with international experience in many cases, and the variety of micro-climates and soil types also play a large role in creating a diverse wine producing area consisting of almost 100 grape varietals.

California Wine Regions produce some good wines