California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared September California wine celebration month.

Following California Wild King Salmon month (July) and Breastfeeding Awareness month (August), California Wine Celebration month comes as the state’s grape harvest gets under way.

Although this year’s harvest is predicted to be generally late compared to last year’s, sparkling wine producers and some white wine makers have already started bringing in the grapes.

Wine Institute spokesowoman Nancy Light said it was ‘meaningful’ to get such a declaration from the governor. ‘We tend to take for granted that everyone in our government understands how important California wine is to the state.’

California’s wine industry is worth around US$45bn for the state and sales of California wine represent US$15bn. It is responsible for about two-thirds of wine sold in America.

Governor Schwarzenegger is known to enjoy the odd glass of wine – he celebrated his election as governor with a glass of red and a pizza and has been known to bet cases of Californian wine on football games involving state teams.

The last official Californian wine month was declared in 1992. The previous governor, Gray Davis, declared 18 June 2003 Robert Mondavi Day in recognition of the wine pioneer’s 90th birthday.

Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies