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World-class Wine Is Made In California
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© Christine Till
The history of California wine began with the Spanish mission system. Wine and brandy were made not only for ecclesiastical use, but were also traded for other goods. The wine industry marked its beginning in 1769, when the the Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra planted his first grape vines at Mission San Diego. This black-skinned grape variety, which was called Mission grape, played a significant role in California wine production.
California's wine industry faced a major decline due to National Prohibition (1920 - 1933). A major portion of the industry, which initially had up to 713 bonded wineries, was wiped out. However, by the end of 1933, California's wine industry started to revive gradually.
In 1976, Steven Spurrier, an influential wine merchant and academic, organized a 'Blind Taste Test' in Paris, France. He had long been curious of how well California's best wines would stand up to Bordeaux and Burgundy. This was probably the most important event in the history of wine in California. The Golden State did not disappoint. California has a reputation as a place where anyone can prosper and anything can grow. Today, the Californian wine industry is one among the finest in the world.
While wine is made in all fifty U.S. states, California contributes around 90% of the U.S. wine production. It would be the fourth largest producer of wine in the world if it were an independent nation. The industry boasts approximately 2,445 wineries, which produce more than 500 million gallons of wines every year. Chardonnay is the largest grown variety, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and White Zinfandel.
September 15th, 2012
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