Why California Wines Are So Popular - dummies

Why California Wines Are So Popular

By Ed McCarthy, Mary Ewing-Mulligan

The Golden State of California makes more wine than all other U.S. states combined. Its wine production is huge even on a world scale. The U.S. as a whole ranks fourth for the quantity of wine it produces. But California owns that number-four spot even all by itself, producing 7 percent of the world’s wine — more than every country besides Italy, France, and Spain.

All that production reflects a big demand for California wine. Two out of every three times that someone in the U.S. grabs a bottle of wine to take home, points to a wine name on a restaurant wine list, or clicks on the computer screen to buy wine, that wine comes from California.

So, why are California wines so popular? Following are some of the primary reasons:

  • The way California wines taste. In general, California wines are very fruity (that is, they have aromas and flavors that suggest fruits) and very flavorful (those fruity flavors are intense and easy to notice when you taste the wine), and these tastes appeal to the typical American palate.

  • The smart marketing that the California wineries practice. Winemakers in California understand what people want and make wines that fill those needs. That’s why California wines run the whole gamut of styles and types. Wine drinkers themselves run the whole gamut of taste and price preferences.

  • The quality of California wines. Starting in the 1970’s, California pioneered many winemaking innovations that improved wine quality. Flaws that used to exist in wines all over the world are now rare because the highly trained winemakers of California discovered how to prevent them, and other winemakers followed suit. In terms of fundamental quality, California wines are among the most reliable in the world.

California stands apart from the rest of the U.S. states for the quantity of wine it produces, the international reputation of those wines, and the degree to which wine has permeated the local culture. To say that in the U.S., wine is California is not a huge exaggeration.