Did you know California, as a state alone, is the world’s 4th leading wine producer?
Aside from topping the charts globally, they are also the largest wine producer in the United States. Every September is California Wine Month – a time to cherish these famed producers during the annual harvest season and an excuse to drink some exceptional wines.
Aside from all the fancy statistics that earn these Californian vintners their respect, their eco-friendly approach to winemaking shows why they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Winegrowers look for sustainable alternatives for their vineyards and winegrowing methods to protect the delicate environment within their vineyards known as “terrior”.As of 2018, wines produced in California made up 81% of all U.S. wines with grapes being grown in nearly 85% of California’s counties. According to statistics from the Wine Institute, there are 637,000 acres/242,400 hectares and 100 varieties of grapes throughout those counties with 139 federally approved American Vinicultural Areas. This leads to a huge impact on the economy and provides jobs to 786,000 Americans.
- noun /terˈwär/
- the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate.
- the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.
The construction of wineries often follows the same thought process leading them to make use of recycled and eco-friendly materials aiming to simultaneously conserve water and energy. There’s even an annual verification and logo for wineries to identify if they are a Certified Sustainable California winery and a “California Code of Sustainable Wine Growing” detailing best practices.
There are four main regions where these California growers take the stage know as the North Coast, Central Cost, South Coast, and Central (Inland) Valley (see map above). The Central Valley stretches the longest at about 300 miles while the North Coast is home to the infamous Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Tucked away along the seaside of the Central Cost is Monterey County, California. As one of California's notable wine grape producing regions, Monterey has a wide range of climates known as "The Thermal Rainbow™" which determines what varietal is planted in which region and makes for a unique terrior. This diverse climate allows more than 30 grape varieties to thrive, and heavily influences the varietal selection, throughout Monterey's Wine Country. That's is why we like to call it the Magic of Monterey.
In this wine class while we explore the wide spectrum of terrior that comprises Monterey County, California with a special guest from Scheid Family Wines. "Al Scheid first purchased property in Monterey County in early 1972. Monterey wine grape growing was in its infancy and Al was drawn to the region for its untapped potential." Now Scheid Family Wines has learned which varietals grow best in which of Monterey’s many micro-climates with 12 vineyards along a 70-mile stretch.