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People have made wine in the American state of California for a long time. California has become recognized as making some of the world's best wine. California makes most of the wine that is made in America.
History[change | change source]
People first made wine in California in 1769. Missionaries from Mexico brought their wine plants to produce wine for the mass. Later, people coming from Europe improved the making of wine. They had brought their own kinds of wine plants.
Before 1920, there was more wine made every year. Then Prohibition began. During Prohibition, it was not allowed to sell alcoholic drinks in the United States. It almost ended the making of wine in California. Californian wine-making took a long time to recover.
In 1990, the USA sent less than five percent of its wine to other countries. After that, exports of wine from California increased. Today, the USA is one of the big wine industries.
Wines[change | change source]
Wine comes in different colors. Most wines are called "red" or "white". White wine is not really white, it just has a very light color. 54 percent of the Californian wines are white wines. Some examples of white wines are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Some examples of red wines are Zinfandel, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
Cool climate viticulture[change | change source]
Grapes for wine used to need warm weather. People wanted to grow more grapes, so they learned how to grow them where the weather was not as warm. That way of growing grapes is called "cool climate viticulture". Vines are now planted in colder places, up to 700 metres (2,300 ft) above sea level. Monterey County was the first place where that was done.
Wine regions[change | change source]
In California, there are more than 800 wine cellars. Wine cellars are big rooms were wine is stored. They are part of a winery, the place where wine is produced.
Two of the most famous growing areas for wine in California are Napa County and Sonoma County. The wines from those places are some of the best in the world. Some examples of the wines made there are Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Other known wineries are in Mendocino, in the Lake Counties, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.