Wine has been produced in America for more than 300 years, and today wine is produced in all 50 states, although most of it comes from California, where almost 90% of American wine is produced. The USA has the title of 4th biggest wine producing country worldwide following France, Italy and Spain.
North America is home to many native grape species – vitis vulpina, vitis rotundifolia, vitis riparia and vitis labrusca being just some of them. However, America’s wine cultivation industry has its basis on the vitis vinifera variety which was originally brought to the country with the original settlers from Europe. Over 1,100,000 acres of US soil is dedicated to growing grapes for wine production, and this makes it the 6th most vineyard planted country worldwide following France, Italy, Spain, China and Turkey.
Although most of America’s wine comes from the hot climates of California, the Pacific North West region also produces grapes including the Cabernet Sauvignon variety. There are around 3,000 commercial vineyards in operation across the US with one winery at least in all of the states.
Thanks to the variety of terrains and climates around the USA, the wines that are produced in different regions have very distinctive characteristics that make them a joy to explore. From the hot southern climates of Alabama, where sweet wines dominate to the cold regions of Alaska where grapes may not be cultivated but wines are certainly produced, America’s offerings are diverse and, in the main, surprisingly good.
Over the last few years, the industry has seen considerable expansion and investment with the result that many more US wines are starting to emerge into the international market and are being recognised for their quality.