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California Riesling

Riesling is an aromatic variety known for its high acidity and floral aromas, which tend to develop in cooler growing regions. It is the main winegrape of Germany but has significant plantings throughout the world. In California, Riesling is also known by its botanical name White Riesling.

Riesling is used to make a wide range of wines from dry to sweet and is sometimes used in sparkling wines. The grape is known to express the place in which it is grown, yet maintains its varietal character. Riesling is often described as flowery, honey-like and complex, as well as spicy and lingering on the palate. Ice wine, late harvest, and botrytized Rieslings are among the most appreciated and age-worthy examples.

California’s Riesling acreage has grown over the last decade from 3,073 in 2008 to 3,962 acres in 2018. Monterey County is by far the leader with 1,523 acres.

Top 10 California Counties for Riesling Acreage, 2018
County Total Acres
Monterey 1,523
Merced 846
Yolo 435
San Joaquin 291
Santa Barbara 224
San Benito 105
Napa 79
San Luis Obispo 75
Sacramento 72
Madera 48
Other 264
State Toal 3,962
Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service
California Riesling Grape Crush Tonnage
Year Tons Crushed
2018 36,334
2017 37,259
2016 41,275
2015 35,879
2014 36,517
2013 37,833
2012 36,925
2011 27,756
2010 25,751
2009 22,101
2008 15,397
2007 13,880
2006 11,135
2005 12,895
2004 9,224
2003 8,466
2002 7,659
2001 9,074
2000 9,531
1999 7,759
1998 9,946
1997 11,929
1996 13,141
1995 14,484
1994 13,427
1993 17,451
1992 21,221
1991 18,350
1990 20,092
Source: California Agricultural Statistics Service