Oscars and Olympics combined.California Wine is the number one finished agricultural product in retail value in the U.S.--generating $125.3 billion, 875,000 jobs, and attracting 20-million wine tourists each year. Thosestatistics are extra impressive considering that Californiawineries are predominately family owned boutiques and that 90% of U.S. wines are produced in the Golden State--which is3/4 the size of France. If California were a separate country it would be the world's fourth-largest wine producer. And whilewinemaking is a 8,000 year old biz, the Golden State’sviticultural only began in 18th century when Spanishmissionaries planted the first vineyard--then was ended with the1919 enactment of Prohibition. It was only in 1933, just three-quarters of a century ago the California's wine industry re-started with the repeal of anti-liquor laws. Yet, 43 years later in1976 California wines beat out the world's acknowledged best--French wines--in the famed 'Judgement of Paris' and repeatedthe astonishing coup in the 2006 rematch.Today, a hundred grape varieties are grown including French,Italian and Spanish varietals, with the leading varieties:Cabernet Sauvignon,Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot noir, Sauvignonblanc, Syrah, Zinfandel. Other red wine grapes grown in thestate include Barbera, Cabernet franc, Carignane, Grenache,Malbec, Mouvedre, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese. And among white grapes are: Chenin blanc, French Colombard,Gewürztraminer, Marsanne, Muscat Canelli, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Riesling, Roussane, Sémillon, Trousseau gris, and Viognier.
The California Wine Festival:
Winemaking--like filmmaking or Olympic sports--is an art,science and arduous undertaking that culminates in awards