The surprising wine from California

by Marta Burgués

California is the fourth largest wine producer in the world, ranking first place in wine consumption in the United States, followed by Florida and then New York. The truth is that California wine has gained worldwide recognition due to the richness and variety of soil conditions and microclimates that exist in that area.

In this state there are 107 American Viticultural Areas and each of them has different varieties of wine grapes. These areas are recognized by the U.S. Government since they testify the variety of microclimates in the region, which has over 60,000 registered wine labels.

Each year, tourists visit the wine regions of California exploring over 2,000 wineries and a variety of cultural attractions to be found there. It should be noted that the varied terrain of California, with all its mountains, valleys and deserts, provides an almost unlimited variety of favorable microclimates suitable for cultivation of certain specific varieties of grapes which produce premium wines.

The Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes produce excellent white wines, while zinfandel grapes are a well known Californian variety that produces an excellent red wine. Among the wine regions of California highlights El Paso Robles Wine Country, which is located between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s central coast. It has 24 square mile territory that includes more than 26,000 hectares of vineyards and nearly 200 wineries.

Another valued region is San Luis Obispo, a growing region located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in California’s Central Coast. It has 26,400 hectares of wine grapes and about 90 wineries.

It is also famous the Santa Barbara region, that lies above the city of Los Angeles in California’s Central Coast, where are popular the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines and some crispy textures from Sauvignon and Riesling, while Mendocino County, located in northern San Francisco, is known by its Sauvignon Gewurztraminer and Zinfandel.

And we can not forget the famous wine region of Napa Valley, 5 km from San Francisco on the northern coast of California, which produces the best Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot. There are signs in almost all corners that invite you to take a tour or a complimentary wine tasting at its local wineries. Some of these vineyards are beautiful properties with palatial mansions and European castle styles.

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