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California wineriesCalifornia, the premier wine producer in the United States, comprises five major wine growing regions:

North Coast Wine Region
Lake, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Mendocino

America's premier wine growing region is made up of some of the country's most dramatic landscapes — ranging from coastal mountains and rolling hills to deep valleys and miles of flatlands. North Coast region is considered the birthplace of California's wine industry when Hungarian ex-patriot, Agoston Harazthy, first began planting grapes here in the 1850's. Today, the North Coast is home to some 800 wineries, nearly half of all wineries in California.

Central Coast Wine Region
Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara

The internationally famous Central Coast region is known for its variations in microclimates that result in a wide variety of styles and flavors to the delight of wine tasters from around the world. One of the oldest wine regions in the state, vines were first planted here by Franciscan missionaries in the 18th century. Today, the Central Coast's Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara) is probably most famous for bringing California wine into popular culture with its featured role in the hit 2004 movie "Sideways", while Santa Clara remains a popular getaway for wine lovers in nearby Silicon Valley.

Central Valley
Amador, Calaveras, Clarksburg, Livermore, Lodi and Sierra

The largest wine region in the state stretches inland for 300 miles from the Sacramento Valley south to the San Joaquin Valley. The Central Valley, most noted for its Zinfandels, enjoys a long history of mass producing a variety of well known "jug" wines, like those produced by Ernest and Julio Gallo, boasting the largest winery on the planet with 9,000 acres of vines.

Sierra Foothills
Calaveras, El Dorado

This mountain region's history is best known for its associations with the frontier Gold Rush days when adventurers found the Sierras an ideal place to mine other riches in the foothill's volcanic soil. Planting vines in the high, cool and windy weather was a challenge, but today wine thrill seekers discover the climate ideal for finding some of the region's best full-bodied reds like Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shirah. Besides "big" reds, award-winning Chardonnays and Rhone-varietals also await visitors to tasting rooms in more than 100 wineries in the Sierra Foothills.

South Coast
LA to San Diego

Perhaps more famous for Hollywood and the San Diego Zoo, the southern coast of California also features more than 100 wineries mostly located south of Los Angeles down to the Mexican border and the vineyards of Baja. Wine regions on the South Coast include Antelope Valley/Leona Valley, San Pasqual Valley, Ramona Valley, and more famously the Temecula Valley that produces notable California Chardonnays.

More about California wines and wine regions around the Web:

With its rolling hills and warm, sunny climate the state is rivaling its European counterparts with award-winning wines and drawing tourists by the millions each year to tour and taste authentic vintages for which California has become world-famous.

Check out the complete virtual tour of California wine with this collection of top directories and Web sites dedicated to providing info on the Golden State's wineries, wine trails, touring and tasting rooms...

California Wine Country Tour
- A top spot to find out everything you ever wanted to know about California wine including editor's picks, visitor favorites, feature articles, factoids, links to wineries by region, lists of related restaurants and lodging, event calendar, image galleries, and more.

Napa Valley Wineries - Learn about Napa Valley vineyards, winemaking techniques and grape varieties together with a comprehensive winery finder.

Sonoma County Wineries Association - Information on wine events throughout the year.

Sierra Wine Guide - A comprehensive guide to Amador and El Dorado wineries with links and related facts, feature story articles, forum, history, and area restaurant info

SteveO's California Sierra Foothills & Central Valley Wine Region Touring - An extensive link listing with overview of wineries in Amador, El Dorado, Calaveras, Mariposa, Tuomne, Nevada and Yuba counties plus related touring info, maps, associations and resources.

Regional Winery & Grower Associations of California - Get a sommelier's education in California wine with links to every major association in the state, with most offering comprehensive directories, event calendars, wine tours, recipes, and related information.

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