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Study Cards on california, wine, californian

Factors that influence the climate of California
  1. Cold Pacific Ocean
    • California current from the north > water upwelling (deep cold water to the surface) > cold water > cooling influence
  2. The range of mountains that run along the length of the state
    • vineyards with no exposure to the ocean > warm
    • vineyards with exposure > cooler
What is more important in California: topography or degrees latitude?
  • cooling influence Pacific Ocean vs protection mountain range
  • some coolest areas most southerly
How can the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean reach inland vineyards in California
Through gaps where river valleys break through
How does the high diurnal range in California arise
The land warms during the day, the air above it rises and pulls in cooler air from the coast during the afternoons and evenings.
What are the advantages of the cooling air in California
  • reduces risk of fungal diseases
  • reduces risk of frosts
  • slow ripening of the grapes
What is the latitude of California's vineyards
Approximately 32-42N)
What are the advantages of the fog in California
  • fog in the morning
    • cooling influence
    • reduces exposure to sunlight
  • but: when fog disappears > intense sunlight
How can grapes reach great levels of colour and tannins on high altitude vineyards in California
These vineyards are situated above the layer of fog > although cool due to the altitude, they gain long hours of intense sunlight
What are the two areas in California that have no cooling influence from the ocean and which kind of wines are made there
  • Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley
  • inexpensive, high-volume wines
What is the overall climate in California
Mediterranean (without marked contrast in seasonal temperatures)
> dry growing season
> dry autumns > extended growing season
What caused replanting and better vineyard management in California in the 1990s
  • Phylloxera
  • Pierce's disease
Why is more machinery used  lately in California?
Skilled Mexican labour is not available anymore due to ongoing federal policies on
  • illegal immigration
  • work permits
Is there sufficient rainfall-water in California
  • Lack of rainfall during growing season > irrigation installations
  • drought > decrease of groundwater
    • local water sustainability agencies > water management schemes
What is the main pest/disease in California
Pierces' disease
  • spread by sharpshooters (leafhopper insects)
Weather hazards in California
  • Spring frosts > sprinklers/wind machines
  • Warm and dry > wild fires (burned vines and smoke taint)
What does the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
  • Provides sources to aid grape growers and wineries in incorporating sustainable methods
  • Runs a certification programme: 'Certified Sustainable'
Is sustainability important in California wine growing?
Yes, approximately 75% of California wine production comes from wineries that are certified by one of the sustainable certification programmes across the state
Why is an organic certification not much seen in California?
USA law: when Organic Wine on the label no SO2 is allowed to be added during the winemaking process.
>  (Organic grown grapes may be seen on the label)
Cabernet Sauvignon in California
  • Site influential
    • moderating influence > fresh black fruit, herbal flavours, less body and alcohol
  • Vineyard management important
    • green harvest and long 'hang-time' > concentrated ripe styles of wine, full body, high alcohol
  • Almost all matured in oak
  • High percentage of new French oak
  • Often blended with other Bordeaux grapes
    • most prestigious and expensive wines of California
Chard-CS-M-Zin-PN > name four other varieties in California
  • Colombard
    • used for blending
    • inexpensive wines
  • Syrah
    • risen in popularity
    • best in cooler area's
    • medium/medium+ body, medium+ acidity and tannins, fresh plum, blackberry and spice
    • in Rhône blend
  • Pinot Gris
    • increased
    • fruity style with peach, pear, melon
  • Sauvignon Blanc
    • fruity style, fermented in ss
    • some ferment in oak > body and texture, toasty flavours
    • labelled Fumé Blanc
Petite Sirah in California
  • Durif in France
  • late ripening > best in warmer area's
  • deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with medium(+) to high levels of tannins and acidity and black fruit and spice flavours
  • blended to add colour, body, tannins, acidity
A wine labelled with 'California'....
.... Wine must entirely be made from grapes grown in the state of California.
Named county on the label of a Californian wine...
... At least 75%of the grapes must come from the names county (e.g. Sonoma County)
An AVA is mentioned on the label of a Californian wine....
... At leat 85% of the grapes must come from that AVA.
Vineyard name is on the label of a Californian wine... least 95% of the grapes must come from that vineyard.
Rule for vintage on labels of Californian wines:
  • at least  95% must be of that vintage when it's an AVA
  • at least 85% if purely a county or the state is mentioned
Law for 'Estate Vineyard' on a label of Californian wine:
  • Vineyard AND winery must be in the same AVA
    • > some very large AVA's created to create the possibilities for large producers to bottle under their Estate name
Export Californian wine
  • 90% of USA wine export
Wine producers California in figures
  • 5.900 grape growers
  • 4.800 bonded wineries
How professional grape growing influences the price in California
Independent professional grape growers are key
  • high demand from prestigious vineyards
    • prices vary according supply and demand
  • prices vary dramatically according region and grape variety
    • Cabernet Sauvignon premium prices
    • Napa Valley fruit 10 x higher prices than Lodi fruit
Largest producer in California / the world
  • E&J Gallo - 70 million cases = 6,3 million hl
    • owns world's largest selling brand: Barefoot Cellars
Name two 'cult-wines' producers in California
  • Screaming Eagle Winery
  • Harlan Estate
Who represents the Californian wine industry?
  • The Wine Institute of California
    • 1/4 of producers as members
  • Many counties and AVAs have their own trade associations
The importance of fog in the grape ripening process (California)
Fog in evening and night > significant reduction of temperatures > slower accumulation of sugar & greater retention of acidity while aroma and flavour compounds ripen
South Coast AVA, California
  • South of Los Angelos to Mexican border
  • breezes from Pacific
  • vineyards on altitude for temperature relief
  • Pierce's disease in 1990's >
    • producers reconsidered choice of rootstock, varieties, clones
    • quality before quantity
  • Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chenin Blanc
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