For the month of January, we present three wine classes on California, Tuscany, and Champagne, during which we celebrate these popular wine producing regions with a tasting and class on 8 wines in the mid-tier price point of $30-$70. The idea of this class series is to introduce you to a selection of higher priced wines that represent the perfect integration of aroma, palate, and overall profile, demonstrating the depth and immense complexity wine offers.
The first of the classes is on California, where the first grapes were planted in 1769 by Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra at Mission San Diego de Alcala. California is now the leading wine producing state in the United States, on record making about 90 percent of all American wine and that is taking into account all 50 states making wine. The size of the state and the diversity of its soils and climates mean that a vast array of fresh, seasonal crops thrive there. Wine grapes are one of 400 agricultural products produced in California. The wine grapes are not the only items proudly featured on the winery estates; most estates offer fine art displays or fine art museums, while quite a few wineries feature restaurants and almost all the wineries offer guests musical and theater performances to enjoy. Wine and food pairings, gardens, tours, wine classes, seminars, and amazing architecture are also present for guests to enjoy! By volume, Chardonnay remains the leading varietal wine from California, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Quite a few celebrities own wineries in California, including Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Peggy Fleming, race car driver Randy Lewis, reality TV star Andrew Firestone, and Dick Vermeil. If you love the idea of Californian wines on the big screen, two must see flicks are the 2004 hit movie, Sideways, and the 2008 movie, Bottle Shock, both highly entertaining!