INDUSTRY: The California Wine Rush

Potentially, California has always been one of the world's greatest vineyards. The state's favorable soil and climate rival and in some ways surpass that of the wine-producing areas of France. Only in recent years, however, have California vintners been able to overcome the popular impression—once founded on fact—that most of their wines lacked the mellow appeal of Europe's output. One consequence is a splurge of expansion that has lured both big corporations and a remarkable number of individual entrepreneurs into the California wine industry.

More than 31 wineries have been started or...

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