The Embassy’s Agriculture Section and the Wine Institute of California brought together 34 American companies presenting 500 wine labels of Californian wine at a unique wine tasting event held on March 18 at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence.
“You are standing in the middle of the largest collection of Californian wine in Europe right now,” said Ambassador Andrew Schapiro in his opening remarks to over 300 Czech importers, distributors, and representatives of many restaurants and wine shops.
The participants had an opportunity to taste a wide range of Californian wines that are available in the Czech Republic. The tasting included not only the best-known California brands but also smaller family wineries. You can see the entire selection in the Tasting Catalog(PDF, 134 kB).
Most of the grape cultivation and winemaking is done sustainably, using the best “green” innovations. More than 70 percent of California’s vineyards are already farmed in a way that conserves soil, water, and minimizes the use of chemicals—helping ensure great wines long into the future.
More than 110 varieties of winegrapes are grown in California, Chardonnay is the top selling white wine varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon is the top selling red wine varietal.
California is the fourth leading wine producer in the world, behind only Italy, France and Spain. Of the top 10 export markets for California wines, the European Union’s 28-member countries were the largest accounting for $518 million; followed by Canada, $487 million; Japan, $88 million; and China, $71 million.
Winemaking in California began more than 200 years ago when Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan missionary, brought Mexican settlers to the area now known as San Diego. He established a mission there and in 1779 planted the first known vineyard. Now there are more than 1,200 wineries and 5,900 grape growers. Vineyards cover approximately 526,000 acres, less than one percent of the state’s terrain.