California | North America
California is the most important wine region in North America and was the first New World region to be recognised internationally as a source of top-quality wines. It produces some of the world’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Zinfandel wines. There are over 107 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) within the Californian wine region, including the well-known Napa Valley, Russian River Valley, Rutherford and Sonoma Valley AVAs. The Central Valley is California's largest wine region stretching for 300 miles from the Sacramento Valley south to the San Joaquin Valley and produces nearly 75% of all California wine grapes.
The wine regions of California are often divided into 4 main areas of production:
1. The North Coast - this area includes most of the North Coast of California, north of San Francisco Bay. The large North Coast AVA covers most of the region. Notable wine regions include Napa Valley and Sonoma County and the smaller sub AVAs within them. Mendocino and Lake County are also part of this region.
2. Central Coast - this area includes most of the Central Coast of California and the area south and west of San Francisco Bay down to Santa Barbara County. The large Central Coast AVA covers the region. Notable wine regions in this area include Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, Paso Robles AVA, Santa Maria Valley AVA, Arroyo Grande Valley AVA and Livermore Valley AVA.
3. South Coast - this includes a portion of Southern California, namely the coastal regions south of Los Angeles down to the border with Mexico.
4. Central Valley - this area includes California's Central Valley and the Sierra Foothills AVA. Notable wine regions in this area include the Lodi AVA.