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. The Vermintino grape varietal has been grown in northern Italy for centuries, but is perhaps most closely associated with the island of Corsica, where it is the most widely planted grape varietal and is one of the key flagship grapes on the island. Thought to have originated in Spain, the Vermentino grape quickly spread to other countries, and is now found in many parts of Mediterranean Europe and the New World. The grape itself is prized by wineries due to the crispness of its acids, and the wide bouquet of refreshing flavors it carries. Most commonly, Vermentino is known for holding flavors of green apple and lime, and for having a relatively light body with a low alcohol content. As such, it makes a perfect match for a wide range of foods, and is particularly popular when paired with shellfish.