Inland Valley is a mountain region in the state of California. It is a central part of the state that is rather big in size. Actually, it is the biggest area of wine production in California. It is surrounded by other wine regions such as North Coast, Central Coast, and Sierra Foothills. The given wine region includes four valleys which are Lodi and the Delta, Madera County, Sacramento Valley, and San Joaquin Valley. In virtue of its large size, Inland Valley provides the USA with 8% of annual harvest. Climate of Inland Valley, as well as climate of California, is perfect for wine industry. Environmental conditions contribute to the warm weather throughout the year. Constant sunshine creates warm temperatures that determine long-lasting grape growing season. At the same time, wine valleys are conditioned in a natural way as sunshine and cool air from rivers, deltas, and lakes form fog. Inland Valley is rich in different types of soils. Loam, clay, volcanic ash, sand, river-run gravel, and seabed soil possess different mineral qualities and are important for growing a huge variety of grapes.
The history of the area is rooted in the history of Native Americans as they were the first people to settle in Inland Empire. However, Spanish and Mormons who came to this area in the 18th and 19th centuries have changed the usual style of life of Native Americans. Having brought new traditions, Spaniards and Mormons forced some Native American tribes to leave their territory. New branches of industry began to develop. Due to the mixture of Native Americans’ old traditions and new rules that were brought to the area by the foreigners, one knows the modern Inland Empire that is famous all over the world by its wine industry.
The variety of wines made from the grape of Inland Valley is great. One can find red and white, dry and sweet, dessert and sparkling wines in Inland Valleys’ range. Great number of various wines is offered to consumers by different wineries. Thus, depending on their preferences, customers can buy Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Red Blends, White Blends, Syrah, Rosé, Muscat, Port, Malbec, Grenache, and many other wines.
As for the grape, there are numerous sorts that are used for making both red and white wines. Among the sorts used for red wine, one can point out Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfande or Primitivo, Barbera, Malbec, Tempranillo, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, and Pinot Noir. White grape varieties are Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling.
As it is impossible to describe the characteristics of all grape varieties in one paper, three most famous varietals will be pointed out. Cabernet Sauvignon has black and tough skin and noticeable acidity. The most recognizable aroma of Cabernet Sauvignon is black currant. The berries of this grape varietal are small and spherical. As for the performance factors, the best soil to grow this grape variety is gravel. It can grow in any climate; however, then some characteristics will be different. In general, Cabernet Sauvignon is resistant to diseases; that is why it does not have any special needs except for a good care.
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Muscat is an interesting grape variety as it can be of more than 20 types. Its color varies from white to black. Although the color can be different, almost all Muscat wines have floral aroma because of a high concentration of monoterpenes. As for berry and cluster size as well as acidity levels, they are different for every grape variety. Muscat grows the best in deep and damp soil. Taking into account the fact that it is vulnerable to some vine diseases, wine makers should pay attention to the prevention of possible hazards.
Chardonnay is a green thin-skinned grape variety that also has several types and is used to produce white and sparkling wines. The berries are relatively small. Different Chardonnay varieties have different aromas; however, they are almost always fruit aromas. It is believed that Chardonnay can be grown in any conditions as it can adapt to any climate. However, the best soil for this grape varietal is soil rich in limestone, chalk, and clay. Harvesting time is highly important because Chardonnay loses its acidity with the ripeness.
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Generally, the three different grape varieties that have been described above must be supplied with sufficient amount of water as it is vital for grape’s normal ripening. Moreover, all of them need trellising as the weight of clusters increases as they grow, and vines cannot hold all of them without damage.
As wine production is one of the main industries of Inland Valley, the region uses major wine styles which are full red wine, medium red wine, light red wine, rosé wine, rich white wine, zesty white wine, sweet white wine, dessert wine, and sparkling wine.
Birdstone winery produces a wide range of wines among which one can find Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Port, Merlot, Syran, and others. There are several principles which are always followed by wine makers in Birdstone winery. First of all, all the wines are made of local fruit bought from local farmers. Secondly, wines are aged in oak barrels and steel tanks. Alcohol content of Birdstone wines varies from 12.5% to 18.5% by volume. The average price of a bottle is 25$.
Six Hands winery produces wine of 11 grape varietals which are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc,Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Merlot, Syrah Chenin Blanc,Petite Sirah, Carigane Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. The winery’s philosophy is minimum intervention into the process of wine making – this should determine the most natural wine flavor. However, Six Hands winery has a technique in accordance to which the process of aging of the majority of produced wines takes place in different oak barrels – new and then old ones. Alcohol content varies from 12.5% to 14.5% by volume. The average bottle price is 16$.