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Home Wine Regions USA Wine Regions USA Wine Regions - Southern California

USA Wine Regions -  Southern California

California is without a doubt the wine capital of the United States. Most wine enthusiasts are very familiar with the wines of the Napa area. Many of these are surprised when they taste the quality wines now coming from the southern portion of California.

The wineries themselves are mainly located in either Santa Barbara or San Diego. The valleys of the Santa Barbara region are located between coastal mountains leading out to the ocean. It is said that the breezy, foggy weather is the perfect place to grow great wine grapes.

There are relatively moderate weather patterns throughout the growing seasons. The conditions are perfectly balanced with hot days and cold nights. This keeps the grapes from getting too sweet, yet helps them become acidic.

There are more than 50 miles stretched along the coast here that are suitable for growing. The consistent weather allows vineyards to be in production all year, though most of the weeding and pruning is done by winter and planting by springtime.

Wine enthusiasts familiar with the Rhone Valley of France find that this stretch of wine growing land is very similar. This may be why in areas on the sides of hills, many of the same Rhone wine grapes are grown here.

Many of the most popular French wines are now produced in the Santa Barbara region. Every once in a while a snow will come along and produce perfect Chardonnay conditions, or a heat wave will create perfect Syrah conditions. Even the infamously difficult Pinot Noir is produced here.

So over the course of a single generation Santa Barbara has gone from a wineless region into a multimillion dollar wine industry. More than 21,000 acres of vineyards now exist here, and half of those grapes are so popular that international wineries are buying them.

The wine production of San Diego has followed a similar path. Temecula is the exact area to the north of San Diego where most of the wine grapes grow. Wine production didn't begin here until the 1970s.

Today the plateau in Temecula, located near the Pacific Ocean along the coastal mountain range provides a cool growing region with plenty of sunlight. An advanced underground irrigation system takes care of watering the vineyards planted in decomposed granite. An advantage of this region is the lack of the wine grape pest known as Phylloxera.

There is another San Diego area growing region way up in the mountains. It produces great Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo. So there is plenty of promise for the growth of the wine industry in Southern California.