Skip to content

California Cabernet Sauvignon

As the main component of some of the world’s most famous wines, Cabernet Sauvignon is often called the king of red winegrapes. This is certainly true in California, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet-based blends rank among the state’s most prized bottlings. The noble grape produces dry, full-flavored wines with aromas and flavors that commonly include notes of berries, currants, cassis, bell pepper and toasty oak. Cabernet Sauvignon’s aging potential can extend 10-20 years or more, although five to nine years is more typical and many wines can be enjoyed upon release. The wine is second only to Chardonnay in volume sold in the U.S.

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 93,241 acres reported in 2018. Napa County, San Luis Obispo County, Sonoma County and Lodi/San Joaquin County are the regions with the greatest acreage.

Top 10 California Counties for Cabernet Sauvignon Acreage, 2018
County Total Acres
Napa 21,665
San Luis Obispo 14,752
Sonoma 12,478
San Joaquin 12,333
Monterey 4,964
Sacramento 4,756
Lake 4,400
Madera 3,417
Mendocino 3,171
Merced 1,847
Other 9,458
State Total 93,241
Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service
California Cabernet Sauvignon Grape Crush Tonnage
Year Tons Crushed
2018 680,308
2017 602,027
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