Page 57 - Galveston Monthly - September 2017

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September is California Wine Month, and all across the
Golden State, winemakers and wine drinkers are celebrating
wineries, vitners, and varietals with ongoing special events
throughout the month. Known for lush, ripe wines, the
state has vineyard areas from top to bottom, and they grow
an array of grapes and are able to produce wine of every
style. Fortunately, California Wine Month can be celebrated
anywhere, simply pop open any of your favorite wines from
California and give a toast to all of the merriment that the
Golden State provides.
Although less than one percent of the land in California
is planted to vineyards, wine is still one of the top three
agricultural products. Of the fifty-eight counties, forty-nine
have wine grapes growing in them, and collectively they
grow over one hundred different wine grape varieties—the
wide-ranging terroir allows for this diversity. Chardonnay
is the most widely planted white in the state and Cabernet
Sauvignon, the most widely planted red.
California produces over eighty-five percent of all of the
wine that is made in the United States. If it was a country, it
would be ranked as the fourth-largest producer of wine in the
world and because of it, the United States holds that position.
With 4,700 wineries and 5,900 grape growers producing
over 680 million gallons of wine, sustainability is important
and California has been a world leader in this movement.
Maintaining the ecosystems, opting to use beneficial animals
and insects versus chemical controls, and conserving water and
energy are top priorities for the industry.
The California wine industry generates 786,000 jobs in the U.S.
and only 325,000 of those are in the state, more than half are
elsewhere in the country. The 238 million cases produced last
year had an estimated retail value of $34.1 billion, a hefty sum
but not surprising when considering that one in three bottles of
wine sold in the U.S. comes from California.
California also leads the United States in wine tourism with
over 23 million tourists every year—it is the most visited state
for food and wine activities. With harvest festivities and Wine
Month celebrations, September is one of the busiest times of
year to travel there. So skip the crowded airport and enjoy the
best of California from right here in Texas.
by Sandra Crittenden
September is