What to say about California and its tremendous diversity?
Thank you Wikipedia for the following: The state of California was first introduced to Vitis vinifera vines in the 18th century by the Spanish, who planted vineyards with each mission they established. [my own words: according to lore, missions were established 1 day walking distance and mustard seeds were strewn to mark the path. Just in case you wanted to know why all the mustard flowers!]
The wine was used for religious sacraments as well as for daily life. The vine cuttings used came from Mexico and were the descendant of the "common black grape" (as it was known) brought to the New World by Hernán Cortés in 1520. The grape's association with the Church caused it to become known as the Mission grape, which was to become the dominant grape variety in California until the 20th century.
The California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century brought waves of new settlers to the region, increasing the population and local demand for wine. The newly growing wine industry took hold in Northern California around the counties of Sonoma and Napa. John Patchett opened the first commercial winery in Napa County in 1859.
Back to my own words. New World, most definitely. Within this context, there are winemakers drawn to the structure of Old World. Ahh, that over-used phrase from New World winemakers! Some, though, have the fortune of great site and the humility of restraint. They make wines that have balance and structure. Yes, the fruit is slightly more plump but great CA winemaking tames this teenage youthfulness to produce wines with a sleek edge. New World, indeed. Good New World, more so.