If you drove nonstop north to south it would take you about 15 hours! A long state with so many different climates and those differences sometimes are just miles apart....The wine grapes grow differently in each setting and climate. Pinot Noir likes cool nights and that ocean breeze. Cabernet sauvignon likes it dry and hot and to be planted on hillsides. Chardonnay is like a slut (will take anything it can get)
Its pretty magical to taste how these grapes grow and take on their sense of place. There is certain flavors it takes on because of the soil it is in, the amount of sunlight, fog, the crops planted in between and the way they trim the canopy. Next time you go to the store and buy a bottle of california wine - look where it is made. Pinot noir is almost always better from Russian river, santa barbara, carneros or sonoma coast. Zinfandel from dry creek. Cabernet from Napa or alexander valley. When the label just says California - they can use grapes from anywhere in California so the better quality ones state a specific place....by one from just Cali and then one from Russian river and see if there is a difference to you. I find it usually has more depth and layers. It also lingers and has more concentrated fruit.
worth a try - You may find a new favorite area!
a little ole wine drinker me