Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

California, highly successful ‘wine state’ of the united states and the largest source of American wine by far, producing 90% of all US-grown wine, some years more than 660 million gal/25 million hl in total, and three out of every four bottles sold in the US, making the state effectively the world’s fourth biggest producer of wine. California was also for many years the only source of vinifera wine in the US. California wine, like most things Californian, has arrived at its current position by a series of bold investments, natural disasters, scientific achievements, external pressures, and political calamities. That the US was not historically a nation of wine drinkers has tended to exaggerate the cycle of giant strides and general retreats, and even relatively recent events can fast become history (see below).