Spanish missionaries planted the first grapes in California in the 19th century. But until the 1976 Paris tasting, California’s wine industry was little more than a sparkle in the eyes of vintners and winemakers. After the “vinous shot heard round the world,” California wine has been steadily growing and has now earned an international reputation for excellence.
With this in mind, it is not surprising that 2006 was a record year for United States wine sales. According to Jon Fredrikson, of the Gomberg-Fredrikson report, 189 million cases of California Wine were sold in 2006, up two percent from ‘05. The retail value of this wine increased as well, up 8 percent, totaling $17.8 billion.