Explore our wines and regions
About the California Winegrowing Regions
California wine regions are divided into AVAs. Every bottle of California wine lists the geographical origin, or appellation, where the grapes were grown.
Appellations here are defined either by political boundaries, such as the name of a county, or by federally recognized growing regions, called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
For a wine to carry an AVA name on its label, at least 85% of the grapes must be grown in that AVA; for county appellations, that number is 75%. And any wine bearing “California” or any California AVA or appellation guarantees that 100% of the grapes are grown in the Golden State.
Warm Days, Cool Nights
California’s wonderful year-round weather is as good for our wine as it is for our visitors. Abundant sunshine ensures a consistent and long grape growing season, while the diversity of our terroir supports a multitude of winegrape varieties and surprising flavor variation within them. California’s 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) of rugged coastline expose nearby vineyards to natural “air conditioning” in the form of fog and breezes, making for exceptional Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and other cool climate varieties. Warmer interior valleys receive the same cooling effect thanks to rivers, lakes and deltas.
Meanwhile, vines planted along our hillsides get a fine mixture of cooling air and bright, unfiltered sun-conditions that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were born to love.
Our soils are as diverse as our growing regions. Sand, clay, loam, granite, volcanic ash, seabed soil, river-run gravel: each contributes its own distinct minerality. And our winemakers are no less varied: since the 1700s, immigrants from all over the world have settled in California, bringing their vines and their skills with them. Hard-earned secrets of soil, climate and vine have been passed from generation to generation, providing California wine with its unique legacy and spectacular range.