California Wine

Image of California wine vineyard with glasses of white wine

There are more than 60 different varietals of grapes that are grown in the state of California - which is a lot for one single state! But this state offers the ideal climate and highly favorable growing conditions to cultivate grapes with ease. Fascinating microclimates give the key growing areas the most productive vineyards, and fertile, well-nourished soils give each California wine a unique appeal.

California is divided into six specific wine growing regions, or American Viticultural Areas (AVA's):

  • 1. California North Coast
  • 2. California Central Coast
  • 3. California Sierra Foothills
  • 4. California Inland Valleys
  • 5. Southern California
  • 6. Far North California

Each of these regions produces grapes with unique character traits that consistently project that California flavor in the wines. Due to the vast size and variety of the different terroirs (which are the complete natural environments in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate) in each of the growing regions, all the “noble” and “important” grapes are planted in the Golden State. Here’s a list of some of the top varietals California is most known for:

Bordeaux Grape Varietals for Red & White California Wines

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Petit Verdot
  • Malbec
  • Carmenere
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Muscadelle
  • Sauvignon Gris

Rhone Valley Grape Varietals for Red & White California Wines

  • Syrah
  • Grenache
  • Mourvedre
  • Roussanne
  • Marsanne
  • Viognier

Burgundy Grape and Other Varietals for Red & White California Wines

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Noir
  • Petite Sirah
  • Zinfandel

The Classic Flavors Of California Wine

The variations of how each of the grape varietals transition into the classic flavors of a California wine is due in part to where the grapes were grown, and how the winemakers in this part of the world interpret a balanced wine. As you begin to learn more about the style and flare of the California wines featured on the Wine Ambassador site, you’ll start to discover a truer sense of tradition and commitment to how a Image of California wines logoglass of wine can make you feel.

A careful study of California history also reveals how the traditions of European winemakers were brought to the state during the Gold Rush in the 1840’s, and how these traditions have been interpreted during the past 160 years. Following the journey from the vine-to-the-wine is always an exciting story to witness as California winemakers continue to push the boundaries of how to make delicious wines!

For more information see the search results on “California wines” below.