Did you know that a Google search of “California wine” showcases between 23 and 46 million results at any given time? Or that owls, falcons, bats, chickens and sheep are among the animals that are used to help control pests and cultivate vineyards by many California winegrowers? With California’s great culture of wine, there is significant interest in all aspects of the Golden State’s wine and grapes, and an informative web site, www.discovercaliforniawine.com is a fun, easy-to-use tool that can help consumers learn more about the state’s signature beverage.
As a sampling of what can be found on the web site, Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers invite you to test your knowledge about California wine and offer the following facts with corresponding links to the site:
How much wine does California produce?
California is the leading wine producing state in the U.S. — making about 90 percent of all American wine — and there are wineries now in all 50 states.
Why does so much great wine and food come from California?
The size of the state and the diversity of its soils and climates mean that a vast array of fresh, seasonal crops thrive there. Winegrapes are one of 400 agricultural products produced in California, and more than 110 varieties of winegrapes are grown in the state.
What else can visitors to California’s wineries do besides tasting wine?
More than 100 wineries offer art displays or fine art museums; 65 wineries feature restaurants; over 50 present music and theater performances, and 118 offer wine and food pairings. Other amenities include gardens, tours, wine classes and seminars, unique architecture and much more. To search these and other amenities, go to:
Does California make a lot of wine compared to other countries?
California is the fourth leading wine producer in the world, after Italy, France and Spain.
How many acres of winegrapes are planted in California?
526,000, though vineyards cover less than one percent of the state’s terrain.
What is the most popular wine from California?
By volume, Chardonnay remains the leading varietal wine from California, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio.
What do Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Peggy Fleming, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, racecar driver Randy Lewis, “The Bachelor” reality TV star Andrew Firestone and football coach and former quarterback Dick Vermeil all have in common?
They are among the several celebrities who either own or co-own a California winery.
What is an appellation? How do I know where my wine comes from?
Wineries are required to put information on the label identifying where the grapes for the wine were grown, and the wine label term for this geographic origin is appellation. If the label says “California,” then you know that 100% of the grapes were grown in the state (which is itself an “appellation).”
What does “estate grown” on a wine label mean?
“Estate grown” on the label means that the winery and the vineyard where all the grapes are grown are located in the same viticultural area. The winery owns or controls the vineyards, and the wine was made by the winery at its facility on the estate.
What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio?
No difference except the origin of the names. Pinot Gris takes its name from its pinkish-gray grapes (“gris" means "gray" in French and "grigio"—as the wine is called in Italy—means "gray" in Italian.) This wine has recently skyrocketed to popularity in the U.S., and thrives in California’s cooler coastal spots.
Which two more recent movies love California wine?
Sales of Pinot Noir jumped after the main character in the 2004 hit movie, Sideways, extolled the varietal’s virtues. Bottle Shock in 2008 tells the story of the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” where California wines beat French wines in a blind tasting that gave California international recognition.
When and where were winegrapes first planted in California?
In 1769, by Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra at Mission San Diego de Alcala. He planted a variety known as the Mission grape to make wines for the church.
What type of winegrape was still widely grown in California during Prohibition?
Zinfandel, which was often shipped to home winemakers who could legally make up to 200 gallons of wine annually for home consumption. A few wineries were also allowed to make sacramental wines.
What is California sustainable winegrowing?
Sustainable winegrowing is set of best practices that guide California’s growers and vintners in producing wine in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner that benefits families, employees, communities and wildlife, and the soils, air and water that make great wines possible. The California wine community has the most widely adopted green winemaking and winegrowing program in the world and one of the few that measures and reports statewide performance. The program has earned the state’s top environmental award.
California Wine Facts at a Glance
Number of wineries in California: 2,843
Number of winegrape growers in California: 4,600
Varieties of winegrapes grown in California: More than 110
Counties in California where winegrapes are grown: 48 out of 58
Number of jobs created by California wine 820,000 U.S. jobs, of which 330,000 are in California
750 ml. bottles in a case of wine 12
Bottles produced with one ton of California winegrapes: Approx. 797 or 65 cases
Amount of winegrapes in one (750ml) bottle of wine: 600-800 grapes or 2.8 lbs.
Bottles produced by one grapevine: Approx. 5
Results from “googling” California wine: 23-46 million
Percent of wine sold in U.S. purchased by women: 55.4%
People who visit California wine regions every year: 20.7 million
Resource on visiting California wineries: www.discovercaliforniawine.com
Original article published by Wine Institute on July 1, 2009