The Glory of California Wines

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The New Year is upon us already—another year to savor and enjoy the many wondrous wines of the world. But then again, why travel out of state? I am encouraging my readers to support the wines of California, especially after the terrible fires that ripped through wine country in both Northern and Southern California last year. The state needs your support and the wines are so good, you need not look anywhere else.
Remember what Dorothy said in “The Wizard of Oz”? “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any farther than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” California grows some of the best international grapes in the world. Some of the world’s finest winemakers live right here in The Golden State. If you can’t find a wine you love here, chances are, you won’t find it anywhere. Why not make this the year of the California wine?

From north to south, east and west, there are so many notable wine regions, you could taste new California wines every week and not run out of options for years to come. Many regions you may already be familiar with and many may be new to you. Most Californians are already fans of the incredible wines of Napa and Sonoma. Napa has been winning international wine competitions since the 1970s. Neighboring Mendocino is also celebrated for cool climate wines, including many exquisite sparkling wines.

The Livermore Valley is making a strong name for itself with its wonderful Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots. Paso Robles on the Central Coast has fairly exploded with wine production in the past few years and has become a real wine-lovers’ destination.
Santa Cruz was put on the map by creative genius of Randall Grahm and “The Rhone Rangers.” Their cutting-edge Rhone Valley-style wines are simply sublime and sought out by those in the know. Some say the wines of The Sierra Foothills are the real treasures of Gold Country and places like Temecula and Lodi are working hard to make a name for themselves. 

You may already be a fan of the world-class wines crafted in Santa Barbara, and if you’re not, you may want to ask yourself, why? Most wine producers in Santa Barbara are small, family-owned businesses. Santa Barbara has so much to offer in terms of history and culture, great restaurants and beautiful beaches, that people tend to forget that Santa Barbara is, in fact, a wine producing area.
Santa Barbara is known primarily for delicious pinot noir and chardonnay. However, due to the favorable climate and vine-friendly topography, producers are able to successfully grow many other varieties as well, including syrah and sauvignon blanc.

Santa Barbara ranked fourth in the state in terms of name recognition of wine producing areas, after Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles. It is predicted that in the next ten years, Santa Barbara’s ranking may rise to the top of that list. There is already a strong trend of Napa winemakers coming down to Santa Barbara to produce wines. Santa Barbara is fresh and exciting and the wine world is taking note of the quality wines emerging from the region.

Wine production in California is an exciting journey for both producers and consumers and it just keeps getting better. Nevertheless, California took a real beating in the wild fires of 2017. We need to rally together to help our winemaking neighbors recover from the terrible losses they suffered. This year, when you raise a glass to health and good fortune, be sure the wine you are pouring hails from our Great State.

Cheers!

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