West Coast Wine Regions / by Sam Deming

The primarily Mediterranean climate of California has allowed the state to become a leading producer of wine both nationally and globally. Over 50 percent of all wine produced in the United States comes from Californian vineyards. Currently, California is home to approximately 4,000 wineries that occupy a variety of wine regions within the state.


The North Coast wine region encompasses the area north of the San Francisco Bay. Most notable are the Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine regions, whose total number of wineries equals nearly 900, almost one-quarter the total number of California's wineries. The North Coast wine region features a variety of wine grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and many more.


The Inland Valley of California, specifically the San Joaquin Valley, is rather famous for its outstanding agricultural production in general, not just its wine. The fertile soil and climate make the the region one of the leading agricultural areas in the world. The Inland Valley wine region stretches all the way from Shasta to Bakersfield. 


The Sierra Foothills are located further inland in California near Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. Wine production began in this region during the California Gold Rush. Today, over 200 wineries are located within the Sierra Foothills wine region.


Stretching from Monterey County down to Santa Barbara County, the Central Coast Wine Region occupies roughly 250 miles of the California coastline. These coastal wine areas are ideal for world-class production, due to the climate and the variety of topography and soils. San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties dedicate over 90,000 acres of land to wine production.