My Itinerary:


As the producer of more than 90 percent of all wine made in the U.S., California is one of the first places that come to mind when we think about wine. Why do we love it so much? In honor of California Wine Month – September 2011 – let us count the ways:
A living national treasure, with history and entrepreneurial spirit
California wines have been around for nearly 250 years, and the industry is the fourth largest producer of wine in the world. After Prohibition, California has led a wine quality revolution by combining art, science, innovation and tradition.
A leader in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices
With its statewide Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP), establishing strong environmental standards and practices from ground to glass, California vintners and winegrape growers are a model for other agricultural products and other wine regions in the U.S. and the world.

Comprised largely of family businesses
The vast majority of California's 4,600 winegrape growers and 3,000 wineries are family-owned and operated businesses, many involving multiple generations.

Offers immense choice for wine drinkers, because of diverse growing regions, soils, climates, winemaking styles and people
With winegrapes grown in 48 of the state’s 58 counties, California counts 110 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Starting with the Spanish missionaries, to German, Swiss, French and Italian immigrants, to the modern day entrepreneurs and researchers, all have made their mark on California wines.
Inspired a culinary revolution
As the popularity of California wines has risen, so has the national focus on fresh seasonal cooking and dining. Many of America’s top chefs work in California’s wine country.

Provides careers for thousands
The California wine industry generates 820,000 jobs nationwide, with wages totaling $25.8 billion. The overall economic impact of the wine industry on the U.S. economy is $121.8 billion. 
Creates beautiful travel destinations throughout the state
California is the most visited state in the U.S. for food and wine-related activities, with 21 million tourists visiting the state's wine regions each year. 
Offers unprecedented opportunities for women
Women have played a critical role in the California wine industry’s past, and today are taking lead positions in viticulture, winemaking, sales, marketing, hospitality and distribution. In the U.S., you’re just as likely to see a female as a male sommelier.
Keeps land in agriculture
Although less than 1 percent of California land is planted to vineyards, California wine is the number one finished agricultural product in retail value in the U.S. Winegrapes ensure that land stays in agriculture, and preserves open space and scenic pastoral landscapes.

Has driven a new “wine culture” in the U.S., inspiring people in all 50 states to establish wineries
Wine consumption has risen for 14 consecutive years in the U.S., and the proliferation of wine magazines, websites, blogs and yes, even a reality television show about wine, attests to the fact that wine is becoming more a part of mainstream American culture. California’s success in wine quality, production and innovation has helped inspire winemaking ventures in all 50 U.S. states.

Text used courtesy of Wine Institute.