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Wine Spectator School

Class 1: Cabernet and California


Early History
The state's first wine grape, the Mission grape, was planted in the late 1770s by the Franciscans, who founded the California missions. Cabernet Sauvignon and other Vitis vinifera arrived from Bordeaux in the 1830s.

Southern California was the leading winegrowing region at this time, but over the next few decades vineyards were planted in Napa, Sonoma and other northern areas.

With the Gold Rush of 1849, the local population and the demand for wine surged; California wineries were in their heyday.

Hard Times
In the late 1800s the phylloxera root louse (which had traveled from the east coast of the United States to Europe, where it devastated the vineyards) made...

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