The History Of The California Wine Industry

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America has far less experience than other countries when it comes to matters of wine. However, that doesn't detract from the quality of the many great vineyards found throughout the country. Of all the known wine regions in America, California is by far the most famous. California wine is considered by most to be the best in the country. It has a rich history and a rich flavor that even helped shape the country around it at times.

A Look At The History

Wine has played a vital role in the history of many regions of the world and California wine is no different. The first grape vines for wine were planted in San Diego by a Franciscan missionary in the 18th century. These grapes would come to be known as the Mission grape and were the most important part of wine production in the country until the late 19th century.

European wine vines began moving to the California region in the mid-1800's. They were planted in Los Angeles by a French winemaker. A few decades later a Hungarian soldier would move to the region and began importing vines from several different European regions. The 300 different varieties of grapes he brought to the country helped kick start the rise in popularity of California wine. Not only in California, but throughout the rest of the country as well.

The Hungarian soldier, who went by the name of Harazsthy, would later be referred to as the father of California wine. He even started a famous vineyard in Sonoma that is still visible today. Unfortunately, many of his grape vines were destroyed in the late 19th century by a root louse.

Thomas Munson later discovered a method for grafting these delicate European vines onto American rootstock, which helped them survive further outbreaks of the root louse. Just as it seemed wine would begin to boom again, prohibition took hold of the country until the 1930's. Once prohibition ended in 1933, the wine industry in California began its slow climb back to popularity.

The Wine Industry Today

The wine industry in California is now regarded as one of the best in the world. It is capable of competing with the best wine regions in Italy or France, which have been around for quite some time longer. Albeit, much of the progress made in California is thanks to the work already done in those other countries.

California is responsible for nearly 90 percent of the wine produced in the United States. It has the largest vineyards, the most wineries, and the most gallons produced on a yearly basis. There are around 2,500 wineries and together they produce approximately 500 million gallons each and every year.

With so much space and such a large variety of grapes it's no surprise they specialize in many different types of wines. There most popular wine is Chardonnay. Other famous wines produced in the region include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. If you want some of the best wine in the world there's no reason to leave the country when it's right in your back yard.
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