Wine & beer in California

Wineries & microbreweries in California

California’s unique microbrews and sustainably produced wines are the perfect match for its innovative cuisine. The craftsmen that create these high quality, tasty libations rely on fresh, local ingredients.

In a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles Melkon Khosrovian is busy making his latest batch of Fruitlab Organic Jasmine Liqueur, infused with crops grown on a family farm less than 100 miles away. To Melkon, the owner of Greenbar Collective, the farmers that he works with are not just producers, they are partners. After all, it’s their high quality organic produce that make his smooth-drinking spirits so aromatic and flavourful.
Throughout California winemakers, brewers, and distillers like Melkon – the first distiller to set up shop in downtown Los Angeles since Prohibition – are taking a detailed, conscientious approach to their craft and using organic or bio-dynamically produced ingredients to make top-of-the-line wine, beer, and spirits. Innovation is happening across the entire state. San Diego’s growing microbrewery industry is quickly making the city the Napa of beer. There are now over 50 microbreweries in San Diego City alone, several of which have won awards. Brewers in San Francisco and elsewhere in Northern California are also scooping awards and, like the wineries, opening their doors to the public to offer craft beer tastings and food-and-beer pairings, often in gorgeous surroundings.

Making organic cocktails & spirits
Making organic cocktails & spirits
Melkon from Greenbar talks about the farmers market ingredients that have inspired their organic cocktails & spirits. [02:06]

While California’s craft beer revolution is still relatively new, California has been serious about wine for some time. Year-round sunshine, warm inland temperatures and cool coastal breezes create perfect growing conditions for a wide range of grape varieties, and outstanding wines are being produced across the state.

Napa Valley may be California’s most prominent wine region, but the Central Coast is one of the most interesting. This region is home to some of the oldest vines in the state and is a great example of the diversity of Californian wine. The Santa Cruz wine region in the north part of the Central Coast is known for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon, while further south Paso Robles is the hot spot for Rhône varietals. The grapes are all different, but there is one thing that every region has in common – a commitment to sustainable growing practices.

From the use of cover crops to conserve water to planting and pruning according to the lunar calendar, California is always coming up with something new in the quest to produce the finest wines and the tastiest pints.

Find more information on wineries and microbreweries in California
Written by Emma Gregg and Katie Cook
Responsible Travel would like to thank the California Tourist Board for their sponsorship of this guide
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