The California wine making industry has come a long way in the last century. From facing near annihilation during the years of prohibition, to undergoing a revolution in the late 1930s under André Tchelistcheff – “The Dean of American Winemakers”. Californian wine’s huge rise in popularity in recent decades can be attributed to the results of the Paris Judgement in 1976, with California’s produce assessed to be the best during the contest. Since that success, it has grown to become one of the most highly regarded wine’s in the world.
The diverse landscape of California plays host to both a Mediterranean and Continental climate, making it an ideal region in which to grow a superb range of wine varietals. California’s coast and bays are a gateway for the Pacific Ocean breeze, which rolls across the state, acting as a temperature moderator; countering the heat of the Californian sun.
Because of the state’s warm climate, many of the vineyards based in California are capable of producing some of the sweetest grapes. The ripeness of the grape gives emphasis to the sweet fruity flavour of the wine and allows for it to contain higher levels of alcohol. While the heat nurtures the grapes as they grow, it has also created a dry climate within the state, making water a valuable resource and its management for California’s vineyards crucial.
California Wine Making: Technology
As the California wine making process has evolved, so too has the technology it involves. The company Fruition Science has developed a solar powered weather station device, equipped with a varied array of sensors, which can survey temperature, soil moisture and even solar radiation. This data is then communicated through a Wi-Fi or satellite link, making the information accessible through a web browser that can be viewed on a smartphone or laptop.
Another piece of technology to enter the wine making industry of California is the sap flow sensor, which has the ability to monitor the plants water usage. It can also be used to observe how the vineyard is reacting to the weather conditions. All this data is then collected and converted into graphs, allowing the vineyard owner to focus on the overall status of the vineyard.
California Wine Making: Screaming Eagle, an Award Winning Asset
California has produced some of the world’s most exceptional wines, including one of the most expensive to ever be sold – The Screaming Eagle, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1992.
This wine was made by Heidi Peterson Barrett and was awarded a 100 point score by Robert Parker (a leading wine critic) in 1992.
It went on to sell for almost $500,000 in 2000. The wine heralds from a place named Oakville within the Napa Valley region and currently sells for over $7000 per bottle.
Napa valley is a key area of Californian wine making, with over 400 wineries located within the county. The variety of grape grown within the region spans from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to Merlot and Zinfandel. The allure of Napa Valley has stretched far, drawing many a tourist from around the globe to indulge in the county’s wine-tasting tours.
The wine regions of California are the 2nd most popular tourist destination within the state, being second only to Disneyland.
California Wine Making: Tourism
Between the pacific coast and the state’s central valley, vineyards and wineries cover the land. These sites, such as Napa Valley, play host to various wine tours and as the state has seen a rise in the quality of its wine, so has it seen a rise in its tourism.
With these kind of views it’s no wonder the California wine making regions have become the 2nd most popular tourist destination within the state, being second only to Disneyland.
Facts about Californian Wine
- Up to 90% of American wine is made in California
- The state of California is the fourth leading wine producer in the world, after Italy, France and Spain
- 55% of wine sold in the U.S. is purchased by women
- Chardonnay is the most popular wine to come out of California
- The majority of Californian wines contain over 13.5% alcohol
- Over 4400 winegrowers are estimated to inhabit the state