California sparkling wine has long been dominated by a select few producers, many of which have been modelled on (and in many cases owned by) Champagne’s grandes marques. Like Champagne, however, California has experienced its own grower-producer revolution in sparkling wine over the last 10 or 15 years, with the rise of precise and thrilling single-vineyard wines.
‘We’ve seen a refocus in California sparkling wine to site specificity, with people making wines that are much more targeted in their terroir expression’, says Thomas Renshaw, wine director of Sorrel restaurant in San Francisco.
Not content to rest on their laurels, the state’s established sparkling-wine producers have continued to innovate and refine their craft with the studied incrementalism that deep pockets and multi-generational vision make more common among their various European producer-owners.
As a result, California finds itself in the midst of a sparkling-wine boom that shows no sign of letting up. Indeed, you can expect to see a whole lot more producers adding sparkling wines to their portfolios in the coming years, if only measured by the evolving capital investments of Rack & Riddle, northern California’s dominant sparkling custom-crush service and now the single largest producer of sparkling wine in the country, with a production capacity of 42 million bottles.
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