California wine is wine made in the U. S. state of California. Three quarters the size of France, California accounts for nearly 90 percent of American wine production; the production of wine in California is one third larger than that of Australia. If California were a separate country, it would be the world's fourth largest wine producer; the state's viticultural history dates back to the 18th century when Spanish missionaries planted the first vineyards to produce wine for Mass. Today there are more than 1,200 wineries in the state, ranging from small boutique wineries to large corporations with distribution around the globe; the state of California was first introduced to Vitis vinifera vines, a species of wine grapes native to the Mediterranean region, in the 18th century by the Spanish, who planted vineyards with each mission they established. The wine was used for religious sacraments as well as for daily life; the vine cuttings used to start the vineyards came from Mexico and were the descendant of the "common black grape" brought to the New World by Hernán Cortés in 1520.
The grape's association with the church caused it to become known as the Mission grape, to become the dominant grape variety in California until the 20th century. The California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century brought waves of new settlers to the region, increasing the population and local demand for wine; the newly growing wine industry took hold in Northern California around the counties of Sonoma and Napa. The first commercial winery in California, Buena Vista Winery, was founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy and is located in Sonoma, California. John Patchett opened the first commercial winery in the area, now Napa County in 1859. During this period some of California's oldest wineries were founded including Buena Vista Winery, Gundlach Bundschu, Inglenook Winery, Markham Vineyards and Schramsberg Vineyards. Chinese immigrants played a prominent role in the developing the Californian wine industry during this period - building wineries, planting vineyards, digging the underground cellars and harvesting grapes.
Some assisted as winemakers prior to the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act which affected the Chinese community in favor of encouraging "white labor." By 1890, most of the Chinese workers were out of the wine industry. The late 19th century saw the advent of the phylloxera epidemic, a type of parasite similar to aphids, which had ravaged France and other European vineyards. Vineyards were destroyed and many smaller operations went out of business. However, the remedy of grafting resistant American rootstock was well known, the Californian wine industry was able to rebound, utilizing the opportunity to expand the plantings of new grape varieties. By the turn of the 20th century nearly 300 grape varieties were being grown in the state, supplying its nearly 800 wineries. Worldwide recognition seemed imminent until January 16, 1919 when the 18th Amendment ushered in the beginning of Prohibition. Vineyards were ordered to be uprooted and cellars were destroyed; some vineyards and wineries were able to survive by converting to table grape or grape juice production.
A few more were able to stay in operation in order to continue to provide churches sacramental wine, an allowed exception to the Prohibition laws. However, most went out of business. By the time that Prohibition was repealed in 1933, only 140 wineries were still in operation, it took time for the Californian wine industry to recover from this setback. By the 1960s, California was known for its sweet port-style wines made from Carignan and Thompson Seedless grapes; however a new wave of winemakers soon emerged and helped usher in a renaissance period in California wine with a focus on new winemaking technologies and emphasizing quality. Several well-known wineries were founded in this decade including Robert Mondavi, Heitz Wine Cellars and David Bruce Winery; as the quality of Californian wine improved, the region started to receive more international attention. A watershed moment for the industry occurred in 1976 when British wine merchant Steven Spurrier invited several Californian wineries to participate in a blind tasting event in Paris.
It was to compare the best of California with the best of Bordeaux and Burgundy - two famous French wine regions. In an event known as The Judgment of Paris, Californian wines shocked the world by sweeping the wine competition in both the red and white wine categories. Throughout the wine world, perspectives about the potential of California wines started to change; the state's wine industry continued to grow as California emerged as one of the world's premier wine regions. In 2010, it was reported for the first time in 16 years; this was not due to a decrease in drinking wine as much as it was a decrease in customers' willingness to spend top dollar on wine. Jon Fredrikson, President of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates said that sales of $3 to $6 a bottle wine and $9 to $12 wine had seen growth, but the sales of wine over $20 had stagnated. In addition, most of this loss in market was occurring in overseas sales, as opposed to U. S. sales. California is a geologically diverse region and varies in the range of climates and terroirs that can be found.
Most of the state's wine regions are found between the Central Valley. The Pacific Ocean and large bays, like San Francisco Bay, serve as tempering influences to the wine regions nearby providing cool winds and fog that balance the heat and sunshine. While drought can be a vinicultural hazard, most areas of California receive sufficient amounts of rainfall with the annual rainfall of wine regions north of San Francisco between 24-45 inches and the more southern regions receiving 13-20
Tempranillo is a black grape variety grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano, a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Tempranillo has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since the time of Phoenician settlements, it is the main grape used in Rioja, is referred to as Spain's noble grape. The grape has been planted throughout the globe in places. In 2015, Tempranillo was the third most planted wine grape variety worldwide with 231,000 hectares under vine, of which 88% was in Spain. Unlike more aromatic red wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot noir, Tempranillo has a neutral profile so it is blended with other varieties, such as Grenache and Carignan, or aged for extended periods in oak where the wine takes on the flavor of the barrel. Varietal examples of Tempranillo exhibit flavors of plum and strawberries. Tempranillo is an early ripening variety that tends to thrive in chalky vineyard soils such as those of the Ribera del Duero region of Spain.
In Portugal, where the grape is known as Tinto Roriz and Aragonez, it is blended with others to produce port wine. For some time, Tempranillo was thought to be related to the Pinot noir grape. According to legend, Cistercian monks left Pinot noir cuttings at monasteries along their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. However, ampelographic studies have shown no genetic connection between the cultivars. Spanish cultivation of Vitis vinifera, the common ancestor of all vines in existence today, began in earnest with Phoenician settlement in the southern provinces. According to the Roman writer Columella, wines were grown all over Spain. Ribera del Duero wine making extends back over 2,000 years, as evidenced by the 66-metre mosaic of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, unearthed in 1972, at Baños de Valdearados, it is possible that this grape was introduced to the Western Hemisphere by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 17th century, as certain Criolla varieties in Argentina have a closer genetic relationship to Tempranillo than to a small handful of other European varieties against which the Criolla varieties were tested.
Despite its apparent fragility, Tempranillo travelled during the 20th century and, following much trial and error, has become established throughout the world. In 1905, Frederic Bioletti brought Tempranillo to California where it received a cool reception not only due to the encroaching era of Prohibition, but because of the grape's dislike of hot, dry climates, it was much during the 1980s, that Californian Tempranillo wine production began to flourish, following the establishment of suitably mountainous sites. Production in this area has more than doubled since 1993. During the 1990s, Tempranillo started experiencing a renaissance in wine production worldwide; this surge began as a result of the efforts of a'new wave' of Spanish growers who showed that it was possible to produce wines of great character and quality in areas outside of the Rioja region. One result of this has been that Tempranillo varietal wines have become more common in the better-suited, cooler Spanish regions like Ribera del Duero and Penedès.
During the 1990s, growers in Australia and South Africa started significant Tempranillo plantations. Tempranillo is a black grape with a thick skin, it grows best at high altitudes, but it can tolerate a much warmer climate. With regard to Tempranillo's production in various climates, wine expert Oz Clarke notes, To get elegance and acidity out of Tempranillo, you need a cool climate, but to get high sugar levels and the thick skins that give deep color you need heat. In Spain these two opposites are best reconciled in the continental climate but high altitude of the Ribera del Duero. In the Ribera del Duero the average July temperature is around 21.4° Celsius, though temperatures in the middle of the day in the lower valley can jump as high as 40 °C. At night the region experiences a dramatic diurnal temperature variation, with temperatures dropping by as much as 16 °C from the daytime high; the Tempranillo grape is one of the few grapes that can adapt and thrive in continental Mediterranean climates like this.
Pests and diseases are a serious problem for this grape variety, since it has little resistance to either. The grape forms compact, cylindrical bunches of spherical, deep blue-black fruit with a colourless pulp; the leaves are large with five overlapping lobes. The Tempranillo root absorbs potassium which facilitates pH levels of 3.6 in the pulp and 4.3 in the skin when it reaches maturity. If it absorbs too much potassium, the must becomes salified, which slows the disappearance of malic acid, resulting in a higher pH; the skin does not present any herbaceous characters. The grape is susceptible to inclement weather, contracting when there is a drought and swelling when there is too much humidity; the swelling has a negative effect on quality. The effects of the weather are attenuated in places with limestone because of the effect of the clay and humidity in the roots. Tempranillo wines are ruby red in colour, while aromas and flavours can include berries, tobacco, vanilla and herb. Making up as much as 9
Rioja is a wine region in Spain, with Denominación de Origen Calificada. Rioja wine is made from grapes grown in the autonomous communities of La Rioja and Navarre, the Basque province of Álava. Rioja is further subdivided into three zones: Rioja Oriental and Rioja Alavesa. Many wines have traditionally blended fruit from all three regions, though there is a slow growth in single-zone wines; the harvesting of wine in La Rioja has an ancient lineage with origins dating back to the Phoenicians and the Celtiberians. The earliest written evidence of the existence of the grape in La Rioja dates to 873, in the form of a document from the Public Notary of San Millán dealing with a donation to the San Andrés de Trepeana Monastery; as was the case in many Mediterranean lands in mediaeval times, monks were the main practitioners of winemaking in La Rioja and great advocates of its virtues. Vineyards occupied the usual part of rural landscapes in medieval Rioja during the High Middle Ages In the year 1063, the first documented report of viticulture in La Rioja appears in the "Carta de población de Longares".
The King of Navarra and Aragon gave the first legal recognition of Rioja wine in 1102 There are proofs of Rioja wine export towards other regions as early as the late 13th century, which testifies the beginnings of a commercial production. In the thirteenth century, Gonzalo de Berceo, clergyman of the Suso Monastery in San Millán de la Cogolla and Spain's earliest known poet, mentions the wine in some of his works. From the 15th century on, the Rioja Alta specialized in wine growing. In 1560, harvesters from Longares chose a symbol to represent the quality of the wines. In 1635, the mayor of Logroño prohibited the passing of carts through streets near wine cellars, in case the vibrations caused a deterioration of the quality of the wine. In 1650, the first document to protect the quality of Rioja wines was drawn up. In 1790, at the inaugural meeting of the Real Sociedad Económica de Cosecheros de La Rioja, many initiatives as to how to construct and maintain the roads and other forms of access for transportation of wine were discussed.
The Society was established to promote the cultivation and commercialisation of Rioja wines and 52 Rioja localities participated. In 1852, Luciano Murrieta created the first fine wine of the Duque de la Victoria area, having learned the process in Bordeaux. In 1892, the Viticulture and Enology Station of Haro was founded for quality-control purposes. In 1902, a Royal Decree determining the origin of Rioja wines is promulgated; the Consejo Regulador was created in 1926 with the objective of limiting the zones of production, expanding the warranty of the wine and controlling the use of the name "Rioja". This Council became structured in 1945 and was inaugurated in 1953. In 1970 the Regulations for Denominación de Origen were approved as well as Regulations for the Regulating Council. In 1991, the prestigious "Calificada" nomination was awarded to La Rioja, making it Spain's first Denominación de Origen Calificada. In 2008, the Regulating Council for the La Rioja Denomination of Origin created a new logo to go on all bottles of wine produced under this designation.
From now on bottles of wine from the La Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin will no longer bear the familiar logo. In an attempt to appeal to younger wine-lovers, the long-standing logo will now be replaced with a brighter, more modern logo with cleaner lines; the aim is to reflect the new, modern aspects of wine-growing in La Rioja without detracting from the traditional wines. In theory, the new logo represents a Tempranillo vine symbolising "heritage and dynamism". In 2017, the DOCa Rioja, in this process of continuous improvement, enriched its current offer by regularizing and incorporating new indications with the traditional aging ones. In 2018, Rioja launched its new global brand message,'Saber quién eres', where tradition and origin become protagonist attributes; the traditional varieties authorized by the Regulating Council of the D. O. Ca. Rioja since its foundation in 1925 have been seven, four red and three white: Red varieties: Tempranillo, Garnacha tinta and Graciano. White varieties: Viura, Malvasía and Garnacha blanca.
In 2007, the Regulating Council of the D. O. Ca. Rioja authorized, for the first time since 1925, the incorporation of some additional varieties within the limits of the denomination, changes that were reflected in two modifications of the existing Regulation approved in 2004: BOE-A-2008-4991 and BOE -A-2009-8950, but this has been subject to subsequent amendment; the permitted additional varieties are the following: Indigenous red varieties: Maturana tinta, White varieties: Autochthonous varieties: Maturana blanca, Tempranillo blanco and Turruntés or Torrontés. Foreign varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Verdejo; these new authorized varieties can only be planted in substitution, so as not to increase the vegetable mass of the Denomination. In the case of the new autochthonous varieties, both red and white, no limit is set on the percentage that the wines must carry, why the production of single varietal wines of these grapes is allowed. On the contrary, in the foreign white varieties it is established that they can not be the
Teinturier is a wine term applied to grapes whose flesh and juice is red in colour due to anthocyanin pigments accumulating within the pulp of the grape berry itself. In most cases, anthocyanin pigments are confined to the outer skin tissue only, the squeezed grape juice of most dark-skinned grape varieties is clear; the red color of red wine comes from anthocyanins extracted from the macerated skins, over a period of days during the fermentation process. Teinturier varieties, while containing a lot of color make special wines due to a higher level of tannins, compounds structurally related to the anthocyanins. Many winemakers blend small volumes of teinturier juices into their wines, to boost the colour, without impacting the taste. Alicante Bouschet Alicante Ganzin Chambourcin Dunkelfelder Gamay de Bouze Grand Noir de la Calmette Morrastel Bouschet Petit Bouschet Royalty Rubired Salvador Saperavi Colorino Carolina Black Rose Maroo Seedless
Plant breeding is the science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. It has been used to improve the quality of nutrition in products for animals. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to methods that make use of knowledge of genetics and chromosomes, to more complex molecular techniques. Genes in a plant are what determine what type of quantitative traits it will have. Plant breeders strive to create a specific outcome of plants and new plant varieties. Plant breeding has been practiced for thousands of years, since near the beginning of human civilization, it is practiced worldwide by individuals such as gardeners and farmers, by professional plant breeders employed by organizations such as government institutions, crop-specific industry associations or research centers. International development agencies believe that breeding new crops is important for ensuring food security by developing new varieties that are higher yielding, disease resistant, drought tolerant or regionally adapted to different environments and growing conditions.
Plant breeding started with sedentary agriculture and the domestication of the first agricultural plants, a practice, estimated to date back 9,000 to 11,000 years. Early farmers selected food plants with particular desirable characteristics, employed these as progenitors for subsequent generations, resulting in an accumulation of valuable traits over time. Grafting technology had been practiced in China before 2000 BCE. By 500 BCE grafting was well practiced. Gregor Mendel is considered the "father of modern genetics", his experiments with plant hybridization led to his establishing laws of inheritance. Genetics stimulated research to improve crop production through plant breeding. Modern plant breeding is applied genetics, but its scientific basis is broader, covering molecular biology, systematics, pathology, entomology and statistics, it has developed its own technology. One major technique of plant breeding is selection, the process of selectively propagating plants with desirable characteristics and eliminating or "culling" those with less desirable characteristics.
Another technique is the deliberate interbreeding of or distantly related individuals to produce new crop varieties or lines with desirable properties. Plants are crossbred to introduce traits/genes from one variety or line into a new genetic background. For example, a mildew-resistant pea may be crossed with a high-yielding but susceptible pea, the goal of the cross being to introduce mildew resistance without losing the high-yield characteristics. Progeny from the cross would be crossed with the high-yielding parent to ensure that the progeny were most like the high-yielding parent; the progeny from that cross would be tested for yield and mildew resistance and high-yielding resistant plants would be further developed. Plants may be crossed with themselves to produce inbred varieties for breeding. Pollinators may be excluded through the use of pollination bags. Classical breeding relies on homologous recombination between chromosomes to generate genetic diversity; the classical plant breeder may make use of a number of in vitro techniques such as protoplast fusion, embryo rescue or mutagenesis to generate diversity and produce hybrid plants that would not exist in nature.
Traits that breeders have tried to incorporate into crop plants include: Improved quality, such as increased nutrition, improved flavor, or greater beauty Increased yield of the crop Increased tolerance of environmental pressures Resistance to viruses and bacteria Increased tolerance to insect pests Increased tolerance of herbicides Longer storage period for the harvested crop Successful commercial plant breeding concerns were founded from the late 19th century. Gartons Agricultural Plant Breeders in England was established in the 1890s by John Garton, one of the first to commercialize new varieties of agricultural crops created through cross-pollination; the firm's first introduction was Abundance Oat, one of the first agricultural grain varieties bred from a controlled cross, introduced to commerce in 1892. In the early 20th century, plant breeders realized that Mendel's findings on the non-random nature of inheritance could be applied to seedling populations produced through deliberate pollinations to predict the frequencies of different types.
Wheat hybrids were bred to increase the crop production of Italy during the so-called "Battle for Grain". Heterosis was explained by George Harrison Shull, it describes the tendency of the progeny of a specific cross to outperform both parents. The detection of the usefulness of heterosis for plant breeding has led to the development of inbred lines that reveal a heterotic yield advantage when they are crossed. Maize was the first species where heterosis was used to produce hybrids. Statistical methods were developed to analyze gene action and distinguish heritable variation from variation caused by environment. In 1933 another important breeding technique, cytoplasmic male sterility, developed in maize, was described by Marcus Morton Rhoades. CMS is a maternally inherited trait; this enables the production of hybrids without the need for labor-intensive detasseling. These early breeding techniques resulted in large yield increase in the United States in the early 20th century. Similar yield i
Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine, is a species of Vitis, native to the Mediterranean region, central Europe, southwestern Asia, from Morocco and Portugal north to southern Germany and east to northern Iran. There are between 5,000 and 10,000 varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few are of commercial significance for wine and table grape production, it is a liana growing to 32 m with flaky bark. The leaves are 5 -- 20 cm long and broad; the fruit is a berry, known as a grape. The species occurs in humid forests and streamsides; the wild grape is classified as V. vinifera subsp. Sylvestris, with V. vinifera subsp. Vinifera restricted to cultivated forms. Domesticated vines subsp.. Sylvestris is dioecious and pollination is required for fruit to develop; the grape is eaten processed to make wine or juice, or dried to produce raisins. Cultivars of Vitis vinifera form the basis of the majority of wines produced around the world. All of the familiar wine varieties belong to Vitis vinifera, cultivated on every continent except for Antarctica, in all the major wine regions of the world.
Wild grapes were harvested by early farmers. For thousands of years, the fruit has been harvested for both nutritional value. Changes in pip shape and distribution point to domestication occurring about 3500–3000 BC, in southwest Asia, South Caucasus, or the Western Black Sea shore region; the earliest evidence of domesticated grapes has been found at Gadachrili Gora, near the village of Imiri, Marneuli Municipality, in southeastern Republic of Georgia. Grape pips dating back to the V-IV millennia B. C. were found in Shulaveri. C. were found in Khizanaant Gora, all in the Republic of Georgia. Cultivation of the domesticated grape spread to other parts of the Old World in pre-historic or early historic times; the first written accounts of grapes and wine can be found in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an ancient Sumerian text from the third millennium BC. There are numerous hieroglyphic references from ancient Egypt, according to which wine was reserved for priests, state functionaries and the pharaoh. Hesiod in his Works and Days gives detailed descriptions of grape harvests and wine making techniques, there are many references in Homer.
Greek colonists introduced these practices in their colonies in southern Italy, known as Enotria due to its propitious climate. The Etruscans improved wine making techniques and developed an export trade beyond the Mediterranean basin; the ancient Romans further developed the techniques learnt from the Etruscans, as shown by numerous works of literature containing information, still valid today: De Agri Cultura by Cato the Elder, De re rustica by Marcus Terentius Varro, the Georgics by Virgil and De re rustica by Columella. During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, the long crisis of the Roman Empire generated instability in the countryside which led to a reduction of viticulture in general, sustained only close to towns and cities and along coastlines. Between the 5th and 10th centuries, viticulture was sustained exclusively by the different religious orders in monasteries; the Benedictines and others extended the grape growing limit northwards and planted new vineyards at higher altitudes than was customary before.
Apart from ‘ecclesiastical’ viticulture, there developed in France, a ‘noble’ viticulture, practiced by the aristocracy as a symbol of prestige. Grape growing was a significant economic activity in the Middle east up to the 7th century, when the expansion of Islam caused it to decline. Between the Low Middle Ages and the Renaissance, viticulture began to flourish again. Demographic pressure, population concentration in towns and cities, the increased spending power of artisans and merchants gave rise to increased investment in viticulture, which became economically feasible once more. Much was written during the Renaissance on grape growing and wine production, favouring a more scientific approach; this literature can be considered the origin of modern ampelography. Grapes followed European colonies around the world, coming to North America around the 17th century, to Africa, South America and Australia. In North America it formed hybrids with native species from the genus Vitis. North American rootstocks became used to graft V. vinifera cultivars so as to withstand the presence of phylloxera.
V. Vinifera accounts for the majority of world wine production. In Europe, Vitis vinifera is concentrated in the southern regions.
Languedoc-Roussillon wine, including the vin de pays labeled Vin de Pays d'Oc, is produced in southern France. While "Languedoc" can refer to a specific historic region of France and Northern Catalonia, usage since the 20th century has referred to the northern part of the Languedoc-Roussillon région of France, an area which spans the Mediterranean coastline from the French border with Spain to the region of Provence; the area has around 700,000 acres under vines and is the single biggest wine-producing region in the world, being responsible for more than a third of France's total wine production. In 2001, the region produced more wine than the United States; the history of Languedoc wines can be traced to the first vineyards planted along the coast near Narbonne by the early Greeks in the fifth century BC. Along with parts of Provence, these are the oldest planted vineyards in France; the region of Languedoc has belonged to France since the thirteenth century and the Roussillon was acquired from Spain in the mid-seventeenth century.
The two regions were joined as one administrative region in the late 1980s. From the 4th century through the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Languedoc had a reputation for producing high quality wine. In Paris during the 14th century, wines from the St. Chinian area were prescribed in hospitals for their "healing powers". During the advent of the Industrial Age in the late 19th century, production shifted towards mass-produced le gros rouge—cheap red wine that could satisfy the growing work force; the use of prolific grape varieties produced high yields and thin wines, which were blended with red wine from Algeria to give them more body. The phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century affected the Languedoc wine industry, killing off many of the higher quality Vitis vinifera that were susceptible to the louse. American rootstock, resistant to phylloxera did not take well to the limestone soil on the hillside. In place of these vines, acres of the lower quality Aramon, Alicante Bouschet and Carignan were planted.
During both World Wars the Languedoc was responsible for providing the daily wine rations given to French soldiers. In 1962, Algeria gained its independence from France, bringing about an end to the blending of the stronger Algerian red wine to mask the thin le gros rouge; this event, coupled with French consumers moving away from cheap red wines in the 1970s, has contributed to several decades of surplus wine production in France, with Languedoc as the largest contributor to the European "wine lake" and recurring European Union subsidies aimed at reducing production. These developments prompted many Languedoc producers to start refocusing on higher quality, but has led to many local and regional protests, including violent ones from the infamous Comité Régional d'Action Viticole. Despite the general reputation as a mass producer and a consensus that the region is in the midst of an economic crisis, parts of the Languedoc wine industry are experiencing commercial success due to outside investment and an increased focus on quality.
Sales have been improved by many vineyards that concentrate on creating a good brand name rather than relying on the sometimes infamous regional designations. Some vineyards have adopted the youngest batch of AOC classifications developed in the late 1990s, while other vineyards eschew designated blends and are instead shifting toward bottling single varietal wines, a practice demanded by consumers in the large New World wine market; the Languedoc-Roussillon region shares many terrain and climate characteristics with the neighboring regions of Southern Rhone and Provence. The region stretches 150 miles from the Banyuls AOC at the Spanish border and Pyrenees in the west, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the Rhone River and Provence in the east; the northern boundaries of the region sit on the Massif Central with the Cévennes mountain ranges and valleys dominating the area. Many vineyards are located along the Hérault River. Vineyards in the Languedoc are planted along the coastal plains of the Mediterranean while those in the Roussillon are to be found in the narrow valleys around the Pyrenees.
The peak growing season is dry and the majority of annual rainfall occurs during the winter. In the Languedoc, the plains area is the most hottest region of France; the region's Mediterranean climate is conducive to growing a large amount of a wide variety of grapes, with vintners in the area excelling in mass production. The average annual temperature is 57 °F; the tramontane inland wind from the northwest accentuates the dry climate. In December 2006, the French government responded to global warming concerns and relaxed some of the irrigation regulations. In 1999 severe weather had damaging effects on the wine producing industry, including hailstorms in May that affected Roussillon and a rain surge in mid November that saw a year's worth of rain fall in 36 hours in the areas of Corbières and Minervois in the western Languedoc; the composition of soil in the Languedoc varies from the chalk and gravel based soils inland to more alluvial soils near the coast. Some of the more rated vineyards are laid on top of ancient riverbed stones similar to those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The five best known appellations in the Languedoc include Languedoc AOC, Corbières AOC, Faugères, Minervois AOC, Saint-Chinian AOCs. The vast majority of Languedoc wines are produced by wine cooperatives which number more than 500. However, the appellatio