United States

Where to begin with the history of wine production in the USA? Well in terms of its beginnings it is documented that the first wine from grapes native to America was made in 1609. Not a massive hit with the locals but a start. Following on from this in an attempt to improve on initial efforts vine cuttings from across Europe started to be imported and soon wines were being made from more recognised grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Once again though results were not what had been hoped for. After only a couple of years each vineyard died off. No one was really certain of the cause but weather and diseases were often blamed.

Today the USA is the fourth largest wine producing region in the world, California being by far the most important wine region, which is no surprise considering that it is responsible for 90% of total US production.

Where the classifying of wine is concerned this only came into being in 1980. Prior to this America had no alternative to the French Appellation system. So for example a wine could be labelled ‘Napa County’ if three quarters of the grapes were grown in the Napa County. But vineyards don’t always follow political borders and wines half from Sonoma and half from Napa had a tough time. Whilst able to call themselves “California” wines they were in fact selling themselves short in that they were hiding the fact that concealing the fact that they came from two top regions in the state.

In 1980 however everything changed when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms authorised the creation of the American Viticultural Areas.


There are over 3000 vineyards across America, with at least one in every state. In its simplest easy to understand form though the US can be divided into the following major wine regions:


This region has become a major player in the wine market including in it the areas of Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Mendocino County. The weather in the region is perfect for wine production hot summers with plenty of sunshine combining with very cool winters. As for grape varietals the most popular are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.


Gradually it seems the quality of the wines coming from Southern California are is starting to gain international recognition, the wines in this region mainly being located in two areas: Santa Barbera and San Diego. The valleys of Santa Barbera region are located between coastal mountains leading onto the ocean. The relatively moderate weather patterns throughout the growing.

A Grape Representation: Burlesque White Zinfandel Rose, Byron Santa Barbera County Chardonnay,


It’s understandable that New York as a wine region can easily be overlooked and overshadowed by California the wine capital of America. However according to recent articles published in various wine publications wines produced in New York are worth giving a go. While the New York climate is considered quite harsh it does it seems have a good growing season. In the eighteenth century it was the Dutch settlers who arrived with French vines and began growing them in Manhattan. Unfortunately though the fragile vines were unable to withstand the harsh New York winters. It was then discovered that the vines could in fact survive if grafted onto American rootstock.

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