Some facts & figures re: California vineyards
Chardonnay remains, far and away the #1 grape in California in terms of total acreage. As of 2011, there were 95,511 acres planted in the state. The next most widely planted white grape variety is Colombard with 24,143 acres. In third place is Sauvignon Blanc with 15,636 acres planted. Rounding out the "Top Five" is Pinot Gris (!) with 13,292 acres, and Chenin Blanc with 6,888 acres.
In terms of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon continues to dominate. Since 1997, when it ranked second to Zinfandel in the total acreage (42,153 acres, compared to 42,948 for Zinfandel), Cabernet plantings have soared dramatically. In 2011, Cabernet Sauvignon reached a total of 79,290 acres planted, compared to second place Zinfandel, which has remained virtually stagnant, increasing only to a total of 48,354 acres. Merlot continues in third place with 45,589 acres. The remaining "Top Five" red wine varieties are as one might expect -- Pinot Noir (39,273 acres) and Syrah (19,009 acres).
White Riesling is making something of a comeback, of sorts. In 2001, only 1,739 acres were planted in California, but by 2011, this had increased to 4,147 -- so there may be some hope for Riesling lovers after all (presuming, of course, that one likes the style of Riesling made in California) -- making it the 6th most widely planted white wine variety in the state.