In 2016, Laguna Beach wine lovers have abundant access to great wines. From chic wine bars to family vineyards, you’ll find a wide variety of wines in Orange County. But do you know the origins of our local wine culture? Learn a little bit of local wine history this January with these interesting facts.
- The Cattle Boom
- The Early Days of OC Winemaking
- The End of the Golden Era
- Orange County Wines Today
The economy in mid-nineteenth-century California was cattle-based. The new state thrived as miners in need of hearty sustenance flooded the area. A number of factors eroded ranchers’ success in the industry, though, and many began selling their land.
The Good Old Days
German immigrants settled Anaheim, the premier American town in what is now Orange County. Settlers in Anaheim and the new communities of Westminster, Orange, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Tustin began growing grains and corn, as well as grapes for raisins and wine. The development of irrigation systems dramatically improved efficiency, and vineyards prospered. Unfortunately, a blight devastated grape crops during the period of 1886-87, putting a temporary but extended end to the industry locally.
The End of an Era
It’s hard to imagine in 2016, but few small wineries survived the phylloxera epidemic that hit vineyards here and in Europe. Some winemakers rebounded thanks to the grafting of disease-resistant rootstock, but the onset of Prohibition put the survivors out of business as well.
The Return of Orange County Wines
Fast-forward several decades. Now, as part of California’s South Coast wine region, Orange County boasts a large number of wine-making facilities. From urban wineries to sprawling vineyards, Laguna Beach oenophiles have their pick of great wines from regional makers.
Whether you’re interested in expanding your horizons, getting away for a weekend of great food and wine, or simply sharing a bottle or two with friends or someone special, you’ll find no shortage of options in Laguna Beach and the surrounding area. This January, celebrate Orange County’s past and present by enjoying some of the best wines available in 2016.