History of Winemaking in California

California Wine

Wine is to California like Robin is to Batman, you can’t have one without the other. But how did it get there? Here’s a brief history of the wine industry in California.

Believe it or not, wine entered into the state when the Spanish came. The missionaries needed to consume wine for their religious practice. So they initiated its production. The first grapes were planted in Southern California in the 18th century. Wine transitioned from a religious commodity to a product for commercial consumption in the 1800s and eventually worked its way into Northern California (including Sonoma County!) during the Gold rush. The business was extraordinarily successful. Winemakers were shipping their products across the world in the early 20th century.

When the 18th amendment passed prohibition, the industry really slowed down. Individuals produced their own wine in their homes but it just wasn’t the same. Luckily, prohibition only lasted a handful of years. Even so, the industry was slow to recover.  It took nearly 50 years.

In 1976, the tides turned. California wines were judged on a French panel and were deemed exquisite. This distinction made California wine popular again. Now, California wines are viewed as some of the world’s finest.

wine distribution

Unlike other regions of the world that concentrate on producing one variety of wine, California is home to many different grapes. The warm weather, plentiful rain, and irrigation permissions account for this variety producing over 60,000 different wines.  The single most popular grape is Chardonnay but the region produces more red wine than white. Over 2,000 different wineries contribute to this immense production making up almost 90% of the wine in America. Californians indulge the most, drinking about 20% of their region’s goods.

At Bolt Staffing, we’re not experts in making wine or in recounting history but we do contribute to the California wine industry by staffing warehouses, wineries and distributors. We also like to contribute by indulging ourselves! Cheers!


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