The Central Valley, a vast, hot, 300-mile-long expanse extending from the Sacramento Valley in the north to the San Joaquin Valley in the south, is one of the most fertile areas in the United States and this is where I base my book, ‘Death on the Vine’. The Central Valley produces a full 60 per cent of all the agricultural products in California and crushes 75 per cent of all the wine grapes. Wineries are huge, and so are the crops.
Blended generic wines are the Central Valley’s bread and butter, with such well-established firms as E. & J. Gallo (which makes close to 70 million cases, including some of the most popular inexpensive wine in the world).
Varietal wines are made here too, especially in the area around Lodi where slightly more than 6 million cases of Robert Mondavi Woodbridge wines are made each year. And finally, thought their production is comparatively small, some of California’s fines dessert wines are made in the Central Valley, notably by Quady winery, makers of the extraordinary, nectar like wine known as Essensia.
If you’re looking for a great summer read, pick up my book ‘Death on the Vine’ learn about the Central Valley and make a trip to some of the best wineries and county’s you’ll ever visit.