Great wine begins with great grapes. Capitalizing on the state’s diverse geography and climates, California wine-grape growers can grow a wide range of grape varieties and styles. The Golden State boasts more than 100 different varieties of wine grapes, thanks to its diverse topography, soils, climates and growers.

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With respect for tradition and a propensity for innovation, California’s wine-grape growers are able to produce some of the best grapes, and wines, in the world. Here’s a look at some of California’s most notable wine grapes:


Zinfandel (Red)

California’s warmer climates provide the ideal growing location for these intensely-flavored red grapes. Some of the state’s most sought-after zinfandels are produced on old, knotty vines, which produce rich, deep flavors.

Taste: Full-bodied, rich and lively, zinfandel smells like a patch of wild blackberries. The flavor consists of berry fruitiness, exuberantly ripe and juicy, often with a refreshing zing of acidity kicking in at the end.

Perfect Food Matches: Hearty foods, including roast pork, sweet or hot Italian sausages, osso buco (braised veal shanks), barbequed chicken or spareribs, spicy beef stews or casseroles and first-rate cheeseburgers.

Varietal grape photos: Copyright © The Regents of the University of California.


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