Californian Wine Appellations – Part 2

In the last article, we introduced you to the basics of wine appellations. In this article, we will take a step further in taking you through all the regions where wine is grown in California. If you still haven’t gotten the basics of wine appellations, I recommend you go through the last article explaining the basics of Californian wine appellations.

ca wine appelllations

Californian Appellation Rules

Natural, what you will see on most wine labels is “California”. The reason for this is that many Americans and the world at large know fully well that some of the best wines in the United States, if not the world, come from California. With this, producers can blend together wine grapes from different areas in California, instead of taking from just one spot. Producers buy grapes from a different region, as a way of cutting down cost. Our distributors wanting to import Californian wines to India should keep in mind that blending will definitely help reduce costs.

Ordinarily, the guarantee (that the wine grapes are grown in California) on Californian appellation is 75%. This means that 75% all the grapes in the blend come from Californian wine fields. What does this mean for you as a consumer?

  1. The wine you are buying is of the same standards as the one you buy from other notable regions.
  2. The wine you are buying meets all the standards for export. Most European countries are in the habit of sending their bad wines overseas, due to excessive supply. Due to high local demand, Californian wines are exported in only little quantities. When importing wines to India, care should be taken to ensure that wine you are importing meets with all standards of the market. Californian appellation is there to ensure that all wines meet with stipulated standards.
  3. It is an offence to chaptalize Californian wine in California. Chaptalization in this sense means to add sugar before or during the fermentation of the wine’s grapes, so as to increase its alcohol content. This is allowed in France, but frowned at in California. The truth is that chaptalizing wine isn’t needful as there is plenty sunlight in California.
  4. Californian wines usually have riper flavor and higher alcohol content than Old World or Southern Hemisphere wines. This is because California is generally sunnier.

In the next article, we will share with you the secrets of Napa, which is California’s most popular appellation.

Explanation of Californian Wine Appellations – Part 1

We have been receiving frequent inquiries from importers whom are trying to understand all the nitty-gritties of Californian wine so as to make the highest return on their investment. As a result of this, we have gone all the way to create a series of post that will answer all questions we have been asked about Californian wine appellations.

californian wine appellations

Californian Wine Appellation: Frequently Asked Questions

Just like most other nations of the world, understanding wine labeling laws in the United States, is quite a daunting task. We will like to begin with some of these laws here, especially those that bother on Californian Wine Appellation. Wine Appellation: What does it mean in the United States?

An appellation is basically the name of the area of a certain region where wine grapes are grown, and can be used on the labels of wine. Appellation name attached to the label of wine by the producer, allows consumers to ascertain the quality of the wine they are buying. As countries’ wine laws differ, so do their systems for appellations. For instance, two factors are considered in defining the appellation of wines: viticultural and geographic political boundaries. Geographic appellation could be the state where grapes used in the making of the wine are produced. California for instance is a very common appellation used on wine labels. Other than a state, counties can also be used as a geographic appellation. Sonoma and Napa are the most popular counties. Cali Beverage Group specializes in exporting Californian wines to India from all appellations within the state of California.

Viticultural appellations are defined by the boundaries of the region where wine grapes are grown. Typical examples in California include:

  • Napa Valley: A region in Napa County where quality grapes are grown
  • North Coast: An area in California than encompasses Sonoma and Napa counties
  • Carneros: A region with blossoming agriculture that includes part of Napa and Sonoma Counties

Otherwise known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Viticultural Appellations can be compared with France’s AOCs or DOCs in Italy.

It is important to note that American AVA is never the same as geographic appellation. This is why it is important to have sound knowledge of both entities. In subsequent FAQs, we will thoroughly break down AVA.

Do appellations have anything to do with marketing?

It depends on the angle you are coming from. Appellations on wine labels are supposed to provide a consumer with information about the wine. Napa Valley for instance is a very well-known wine appellation. No region in the entire United States grows varieties of Bordelaise grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot like the Napa Valley. Some of the United States’ most prized wines come from this area. However, Pinot Noir does not do well there.

Also, Alexander Valley which shares boundary with Napa Valley, and close to Sonoma County, produces the same kind of wine grapes as Napa Valley. Even though the two regions grapes are very similar, Napa Valley is more popular. When there is little knowledge of wines from California among consumers, there will be differences in marketing value.

I do hope that you found all that was shared here very insightful. In subsequent articles, I will get straight to the business of the day; quality and market values of some appellations.