The California Wine Fair is the largest annual wine tour in Canada and has been making stops across the country for 30 years, according to organizers. This year, however, will be the first time the fair has made a stop in St. John's.
The fair, offering approximately 135 different wines from more than 50 wineries, will be held today from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Delta St. John's.
It will truly be just a taste of what California wine makers have to offer.
That is because 90 per cent of United States wine exports come from California and, in sales, California wine surpassed the $1-billion mark in 2008. That is according to the Wine Institute, an industry organization representing more than 1,000 wineries in the state.
The Golden State is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, states the institute, behind the countries of Italy, France and Spain.
For further illustration, the population of California is approximately 37 million people. Compare that with the two billion litres (almost three billion bottles) of wine estimated to be produced by the state in a single year.
The Canadian director for the Wine Institute, Rick Slomka, stated growing conditions as one of the main reasons for the strength of the California wine industry.
"California really has incredible weather," Slomka said. "They have sunny and dry days, cool nights and they have these coastal breezes.
"Our grapes ripen very slowly, so we're getting really, really good fruit flavour out of the grapes," he said.
Slomka said zinfandels are among the most popular wines from the region.
"We (in California) make about 95 per cent of the zinfandel wine in the world," he said.
Among the red wines to be made available at the wine fair in St. John's will be selections from Ravenswood and Seghesio wineries.
"Both of these names are zinfandel specialists," Slomka said.
"There are (also) some new wines from what we call the central coast of California," he said. "One is called Liberty School, another is called Clos LaChance. Another is called Cycles Gladiator. Another is called Eos. We also have Bonny Doon from that area."
The Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp. (NLC) lists a limited number of wines, Slomka said, and the fair is a way to promote new labels to both consumers and liquor boards such as the NLC.
Tickets to the wine fair are available through the NLC (see
) and include a $10 taxi voucher.
Ascentia Wine Estates
Bonny Doon Vineyard
Castle Rock Winery
Chateau St. Jean
Clos du Bois
Clos LaChance Winery
Delicato Family Vineyards
Eos Estate Winery
Fetzer Valley Oaks
Foley Family Wines
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Greg Norman California
Hahn Family Wines
Hope Family Wines
J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines
Kautz Family Vineyards
Little Black Dress
Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards
Metter Family Estates
Queen of Hearts
Ravenswood Vintner's Blend
Robert Mondavi Private Selection
Robert Mondavi Winery
Silver Oak Cellars
Sterling Vintners Collection
Trinchero Family Estates
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi