California Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon has been referred to as the king of red winegrapes. Cabernet Sauvignons and blends where the variety predominates are some of the most prized wines produced in California. The grape is also the main ingredient in blends for many of the famous red wines in the world. Cabernet Sauvignons are dry, full flavored and made to be long lived for many labels. The aging potential can be upwards of 10-20 years, though five to nine years is more usual and many can be enjoyed upon release. Fans of Cabernet Sauvignon are familiar with the wine’s common descriptors: berry, currant and cassis or herbaceous, bell pepper and toasty oak aromas and flavors. For traditional California table wine volume sold in U.S. food stores, Cabernet Sauvignon is the second leading varietal after Chardonnay, according to the Nielsen Company and Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates.

The Cabernet Sauvignon Grape

DNA genetic fingerprinting research at the University of California at Davis has revealed Cabernet Sauvignon to be a cross between the Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The variety is California’s most widely planted red winegrape with 90,782 acres reported in 2016. Napa Valley, San Luis Obispo County, Sonoma and Lodi/San Joaquin County are the regions with the most plantings.

 

Top 10 California Counties for Cabernet Sauvignon Acreage, 2016

County 2016 Total Acres
Napa 20,759
San Luis Obispo 13,772
Sonoma 12,299
San Joaquin 12,174
Monterey 4,851
Sacramento 4,488
Lake 4,183
Madera 4,016
Mendocino 2,892
Merced 1,950
Other 9,398
STATE TOTAL 90,782

Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service

 

California Cabernet Sauvignon Grape Crush Tonnage

Year Tons Crushed
2016 566,574
2015 455,594
2014 510,179
2013 524,086
2012 496,774
2011 384,302
2010 446,199
2009 442,769
2008 326,212
2007 425,173
2006 423,508
2005 542,480
2004 360,166
2003 396,358
2002 379,161
2001 387,186
2000 357,683
1999 255,732
1998 228,450
1997 226,318
1996 158,643
1995 180,406
1994 171,654
1993 160,035
1992 151,319
1991 134,143
1990 94,177

Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service