Barbera in California

Here is an overview of principal California American Viticultural Areas, (AVAs), the U.S. equivalent of appellations, associated with Cabernet Sauvignon. For a deep dive into specific regions, please visit our Regional Guides.

California Barbera Acreage by County (2020)
COUNTY 2020 TOTAL GRAPE ACRES
(bearing and non-bearing)
2020 TOTAL GRAPE HECTARES
(bearing and non-bearing)
Fresno 2,601 1,053
Madera 903 365
Amador 229 93
San Joaquin 172 70
Kings 133 54
El Dorado 114 46
Mendocino 68 27
Tulare 68 27
San Luis Obispo 62 25
Sonoma 47 19
Other 260 105
STATE TOTAL 4,657 1,884

Although Barbera is grown in 37 of California’s 58 counties, from Mendocino to Temecula and the Sierra Foothills to the central valleys and coastal mountains near the Pacific, its best expressions are concentrated in just a handful of growing regions:  Lodi, the Sierra Foothills (especially Amador) and even smaller bespoke amounts (all less than 25 ha/60 acres) in the counties of Mendocino, Sonoma, Paso Robles, and Lake. Of the total planted hectares/acres, close to 80% are grown in warmer areas, where the grape is cultivated for volume and its contribution to acidity and color to augment inexpensive blends.

Barbera is among Italy’s most widely planted grapes and popular red wines, especially in the northwestern region of Piemonte, among other areas. Up until roughly 30 years ago, Barbera was the most widely planted red wine grape in all of Italy (today it is the second-most, after Sangiovese). Consequently, it is not surprising that Barbera has always been a favorite among growers and winemakers of Italian descent throughout the world.

  • Italy: Piedmont (Asti, Monferrato, Alba), Lombardy (Oltrepò Pavese), Emilia-Romagna, Sardinia
  • Other European countries:  Slovenia, Greece 
  • Australia: South Australia (McLaren Vale), Victoria (Mornington Peninsula, King Valley), New South Wales (Hunter, Mudgee)
  • The Americas: United States (Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania); Argentina (San Juan)
  • Other Countries: South Africa, Israel