What does the world look like to those in the midst of a quiet revolution? As with the frog in a pot of slowly heating water, sometimes change can be hard to see when it doesn’t arrive with a clap of thunder, an overnight recession, or live narration from a serious-looking news reporter with a microphone.
If you weren’t paying particularly close attention, or your relationship to California wine consisted of what you might find on your supermarket shelves each week as you shopped for your dinner, things might not look all that different from a few years ago.
But were you to step back and consider what has happened in the past 10 years in California, the pace of change would be steep indeed. Look back 20 years and the landscape of wine in the state might as well be on another planet.
The shift in California is still underway, but its trajectory seems clear. Clear enough for San Francisco Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné to have penned The New California Wine: a Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste. The book, which went on sale around the world last week, aims to answer the two questions that tend to be asked at any given turning point: How did we get here? And where are we headed?
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you’re not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It’s only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.