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Italian-style winemaking in California: the top bottles to seek out

Blending tradition and progress, old techniques and new frontiers, Californian wineries with Italian heritage fuse the best of both cultures.

The Italian influence on California winemaking runs deep and spreads wide; from land to winery, terroir to taste, production to marketing. The sonorous Italian family and grape names have eased themselves into the Californian lexicon as easily and ubiquitously as their cuisine.


Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 17 top Italian-style Californian wines


Italians were among the first European settlers in California, spreading evenly south to north and involved in religious orders and the fishing communities. They navigated the Gold Rush by providing services to the mining communities, forging fortunes by establishing banks, controlling politics, offering nourishment, both for the body – in the form of fish and agricultural produce – and the soul, through theatre and opera.

Successful integration and assimilation were key. The Italian settlers becoming instigators of progress has benefited California at large – and especially the wine industry.


See tasting notes and scores for 17 top Italian-style Californian wines


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