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The California Issue – June/July 2024

The California Issue – June/July 2024

June/July 2024

Is California the greatest country in the world? One Frenchman quoted in this issue seems to think so. And the numbers back him up: it produces 85% of U.S. wine and is the fourth largest wine producer globally. It is also a worldwide leader in regenerative and sustainable grape growing. In this issue, we find out what doing the right thing in the Golden State tastes like.

Letter from the Publisher

All the Difference

How I found out what doing the right thing tasted like.

I remember it well. The first time I tried wine made with regeneratively grown grapes side-by-side with one called simply “sustainable” was at Robert Hall Winery back in 2022. It was a hot August day—as all August days seem to be in Paso Robles—beautiful but sizzling. The team served two versions of the same Cabernet Sauvignon made from vines only a few rows apart, planted just yards from where we sat.

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There were some flavor components in the glass that were slightly improved. Specifically, the regeneratively grown Cab had a more complex texture than its sustainable sibling. However, that wasn’t what I took away from the tasting. I took away the feeling that within this glass lay the solution to saving the world.

Well, I take that back, maybe not the whole world but certainly massive progress for the wine world. This experience was on the heels of visiting Tablas Creek, another icon in the regenerative organic viticulture movement. That trip to Paso was so eye-opening I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I felt fully converted to the new regenerative lexicon of cover crop, no-till and fleece-covered lawnmowers (i.e. sheep).
This epiphany is the exact sentiment currently cascading over the entire industry, and California is leading the charge. It doesn’t hurt that younger consumers have told us time and time again that these environmental efforts are values that resonate with them. Of course, they do. The next generation will be left holding the bag, so to speak, based on how we treat the Earth now.

At Wine Enthusiast, this sentiment has flowed into our hearts as well. We’re extremely proud to officially become a Certified B Corporation this year, so we can practice what many of our wine partners preach—purpose balanced with profit. We may not have any sheep or bees on our staff, but we sure do love a good glass of wine that does some good for the world.

Photography: Paul Aresu,Hair and Makeup: Robert Moulton

For, what would a soup dumpling be without a bracingly acidic Riesling? Or a delightfully greasy slice without Lambrusco? Or a Penicillin served up without suspenders? Because if they make it here—food and drink that is—that doesn’t mean they can make it anywhere. There can only be one New York City.

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6/05 The Top-Rated California Chardonnays Right Now

6/06 Is Sotol the New Mezcal?

6/10 The Man Who Invented Biodynamics

6/11 The Top-Rated California Pinot Noirs Right Now

6/12 Cocktail of the Month: Basil Smash Recipe

6/14 The Weed World’s Somm-spiration

6/14 Region Rundown: Ohio River Valley

6/17 The Top-Rated California Cabs to Drink Right Now

6/19 Under the Sea, Into the Vines

6/21 Garnishing with Guy Fieri

6/24 White on Green: A Tennis-Inspired Cocktail Recipe

6/25 California Vineyards Moving Towards Environmental Stability

6/27 Grapes 101: Catawba

7/01 How to Pair Wine with Cherries

7/02 Estate-Grown Beer in Virginia

7/03 Seafood and Garlic Chive Pancake Recipe

7/04 Austria’s Wachau Region Lies Stagnant

7/05 Tuning Into the Frequency of Nicolas Joly

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