The Home of American Wines
In California, wine makers are free to try just about anything – and they do. Planting different varieties in different regions, experimenting with blends, California wines are widely recognized as among the best, new wine produced today. In addition, California is the first place where the grapes became the stars of the wine. Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were all in the background. But not anymore! California wines put these names on the tongues (and palates) of wine lovers worldwide.

Due in part to the amount of wine produced here that stays in the United States, and in part to the wide selection of highly rated wines made here (California is also home to the Wine PocketList – we’re 30 minutes from both downtown Napa and Sonoma) California wines are widely represented in the Wine PocketList’s ratings guide. If you’re looking for a comprehensive wine guide to red or white California wine, you’ll find hundreds of recent reviews, though the number of highly rated wines in the “Bargain” (under $10) and “Moderate” ($11-$15) categories is fewer than those wines priced at $16 and up.

Not Just Napa Anymore
Napa Valley. One of the smallest, most expensive and best known wine producing regions in the World. Even though less than 5% of California’s wine grapes are grown here, close to three hundred wineries call it home. Almost every winery based here produces a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and Merlot is also gaining in popularity.

While Napa is the birthplace of California wines, Sonoma County (the next county to the West of Napa) boasts wines whose reviews often match up to those of its better known neighbor. Also well known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, Sonoma’s more varied climate (cooler towards the coast) also allows Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc to flourish.

While the Wine PocketList guide shows several red and white Bargain and Moderate priced wines from Napa and Sonoma, the story told by the Price/Rating ratio in a typical Wine PocketList search unearths many fine California wines that are also great bargains from the central coast regions (north and south, from Santa Cruz and Monterey down through San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara), the foothills of the Sierra’s and coastal ranges.