California as a wine producing region has grown in size and importance considerably over the past couple of centuries, and today is the proud producer of more than ninety percent of the United States' wines. Indeed, if California was a country, it would be the fourth largest producer of wine in the world, with a vast range of vineyards covering almost half a million acres. The secret to California's success as a wine region has a lot to do with the high quality of its soils, and the fact that it has an extensive Pacific coastline which perfectly tempers the blazing sunshine it experiences all year round. The winds coming off the ocean cool the vines, and the natural valleys and mountainsides which make up most of the state's wine regions make for ideal areas in which to cultivate a variety of high quality grapes. This wine is not grown in enough areas in this country, especially considering the spectacular results of the efforts of a handful of vintners in California's Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and Santa Barbara County. Its roots can be traced to Northern Italy's Traminer, although is grown successfully as Gewurtztraminer (Gewurz means spicy) in Austria, Germany, Alsace and elsewhere. It is rich, full-bodied and powerful, with ripe pears, tropical fruits and reminiscent of lychee nuts. At its best it is perfumed with floral qualities, like roses, and potently spicy, especially in the aroma.