The wines of California have a distinctive personality and style, which arise from a culture very different from that of most other wine regions. Whilst the area has abundant sunshine, the unique character of the wines comes from other elements, mainly the maritime influence or the elevation of the vineyards. Californian wines also benefit from the industry’s lack of regulation which allows a grower to grow what he wants where he wants and use any grapes he likes. This freedom has led to the swift evolution and diversification of the state’s wine industry. Stephen Brook has identified the region’s top 90 producers, though the nature of the industry there makes the selection particularly difficult. The author considers quality as the most important but not sole criterion. He looks more indulgently on wineries that make considerable volumes of excellent wine than on boutique operations that do one small thing very well This guide, the fourth in the acclaimed Finest Wines series, from Hugh Johnson’s award-winning team, casts a whole new light on the region. Authoritative, bang up-to-date, and brimming with fascinating information, this essential guide is required reading for all wine lovers and makes a handsome present.