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California produces 90 percent of the wine coming out of the United States. The major wine producing regions include four large AVA’s: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, and Sierra Foothills. Within those are smaller regions such as Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Santa Barbara, Monterey County, Carneros, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Santa Maria Valley, Livermore, Lodi and so on. From the formidable forests of Mendocino to the sun-soaked hills of Temecula, California offers a diverse climate and geography that allows grapes of all kinds to thrive. Being near the coast is optimal when it comes to producing wine. Rolling fog and cool sea breezes mitigate the warm temperatures creating a diurnal swing of warm days to cool nights. With a surplus of sunshine, California wine makers need not to worry about the ripeness of their grapes. The mixture of ripeness and sunlight give California wine their natural plumpness and extroverted fruit, creating an ideal recipe for Cabernet Sauvignon, which happens to be among the leaders of wine coming out of California. Closely following Cabernet Sauvignon, California produces Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, even Rhone and Italian varieties. The rumors surrounding Spanish varieties to be the next big thing to come out of California are not far-fetched. California’s extensive territory and plethora of microclimates allure some of the most experimental and innovative wine makers in the world. California, more specifically Napa Valley truly made a name for itself with the “underdog of the century” victory over France in the 1976 Judgment of Paris wine competition. 


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