Wine Growing Areas

Pinot Gris in California

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

California Pinot Gris Acreage by County (2020)
COUNTY 2020 TOTAL GRAPE ACRES
(bearing and non-bearing)
2020 TOTAL GRAPE HECTARES
(bearing and non-bearing)
San Joaquin 5,072
2052.61
Fresno 1,910 772.97
Sacramento 1,656 670.17
Yolo 1,483 600.16
Monterey 1,207 488.47
Madera 1,094 442.74
Merced 631 255.36
Santa Barbara 511 206.80
Solano 428 173.21
Sonoma 408 165.12
San Luis Obispo 366 148.12
Stanislaus 325 131.53
Others 1342 543.10
STATE TOTAL 16,431 6649.53

In California, there is no one leading region for Pinot Gris/Grigio, no singular characteristic terroir, and not even a signature interpretation. The highest quality interpretations in the Golden State range dramatically in style and production techniques, exhibiting as much diversity as the complexion of the state’s population! In the end, and with the understanding of high-quality fruit as a starting point, the skill and hand of the winemaker stand out as much as anything else, as we will discover below. The greatest constellation of premium wineries producing quality Pinot Gris/Grigio can be found in:

  • Sonoma County
  • Mendocino
  • Lake County
  • Monterey County
  • Santa Barbara

Pinot Gris/Grigio Around The World

Long thought and now confirmed to be a mutated clone of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris/Grigio normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name ("gris" meaning "grey" in French, and “grigio” being same in Italian ) but the grape can have a brownish-pink to black and even white-beige appearance. The word "Pinot", which means "pinecone" in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pinecone-shaped clusters. The “white” wine it makes sometimes features a signature tinge of copper or gray color from the phenolics (tannins) in the skins. So in a way, it makes a white wine that’s actually neither white nor red and is becoming one of the more popular choices of grapes for making orange wine globally. A reminder and spoiler alert, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris are the same grape.

  • France: Alsace, Burgundy, Loire Valley
  • Italy: Friuli, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Lombardia, Tuscany
  • Germany: Baden, Rheinhessen, Pfalz
  • Austria: Burgenland
  • Hungary: Mátra, Badacsony
  • Other European countries: Switzerland (Valais), Slovenia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Ukraine 
  • Australia: South Australia (Clare Valley), Victoria (Mornington Peninsula)
  • New Zealand: North Island (Hawkes Bay), South Island (Marlborough, Central Otago)
  • Other Countries: South Africa, Japan
  • The Americas
    • Argentina: Mendoza
    • Canada: British Columbia
    • USA (beyond CA): Oregon (Willamette Valley), Washington, Michigan, New York, Virginia