On Wine


California Wine Districts

by Fred McMillin


Quick! Name California's 5 Wine Districts...

I will pause, to let you think.

(If you get four right you get an A, three right is a B.)

Here they are:

  • Northern California Coast Region
  • Central California Coast Region
  • Southern California Coast Region
  • Central Valley Region
  • Sierra Nevada Region
California's 5 Wine Districts  

Here are some of the high-scoring wines from four of those regions, as rated by my S.F. City College (Fort Mason Campus) classes.

Northern California Coast Region

  • Writer's Block (Steele Wines), Lake County, Syrah, 2007, $15
  • Dry Creek Vineyards, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay, 2007, $20

Central California Coast Region

  • Firestone Vineyards, Central Coast, Riesling, 2007, $15
  • EOS Estate Winery, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, 2004, $55

Central Valley Region

  • Woodbridge (R. Mondavi), Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, $11
  • Harlow Ridge Winery, Lodi, Pinot Noir, 2007, $10

Sierra Nevada Region

  • Sobon Estate, Shenandoah Valley of California, Zinfandel-ReZerve, 2002, $24
  • Deaver Vineyards, Sierra Foothills, Chardonnay, 2007, $19

Global Wine Quiz of the Month

Which One of These Six Facts Is False?

  • 1. During Prohibition, 1920-1933, California grape wine production increased dramatically.
  • 2. There are five Mendocinos...a canyon, a national forest, a town, a county, and a cape. The cape was the first to receive the name.
  • 3. Cape Mendocino is located in Mendocino County.
  • 4. Joan of Arc liked bread dipped in red wine.
  • 5. President Eisenhower and his wife frequently served pink wines with formal White House meals.
  • 6. Legend says the Syrah grape was brought from Ancient Persia to France by a crusader.

Answer: Cape Mendocino is not located in Mendocino County, but in Humboldt County.


Related wines that scored well in my classes at the Fort Mason campus of S.F. City College:

  • 1. NxNW Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Washington, 2005, $35
  • 2. Navarro Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, 2003, $16
  • 3. Parducci Wine Cellars, Petite Sirah, Mendocino County, 2005, $11
  • 4. Chateau Greysac, Red Bordeaux, France-Medoc (Diageo), 2003, $20
  • 5. Bonny Doon Vineyards, Vin Gris de Cigare, Santa Cruz Mountains, 2008, $15
  • 6. Silkwood Wines, Syrah, Stanislaus County, 2004, $25

Need a Gift for a Winelover?

The King Estate offer jams that contain wine for only $8. They are: Strawberry Pinot Gris, Mirabelle Plum Pinot Gris, Blueberry Pinot Noir and Raspberry Pinot Noir. Contact Information: Address: 80854 Territorial Road Eugene, Oregon 97405; Phone: 1-800-884-4441; E-Mail: SashaK@KingEstate.Com


And a Final Wine Smile

True story: The FABOBA family had two sons. They decided that no U.S.A. notable people had such name, so they changed it to NOBLE. The wife was in a wine shop with four other customers when a friend she has not seen in a long time came in the shop's front door and called "Hi, Mrs FABOBA."

The wife said "Sshhh, I'm Mrs. NOBLE now."

Her friend: "That's great. I never did like your first husband."


Tastings: Edgar Vogt
Statistics: Ophie Mercado


Fred McMillin

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for over 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.

Copyright © 2010, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.

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This page created June 2010