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Not everyone would automatically think of America as a famous wine producer. But then again, they should -- is there anything that the USA turns its hands to that it doesn’t become famous for? Certainly, there’s evidence to suggest that America, despite being relatively new to the game (by European standards, anyway), has become a big player on the global wine scene. It’s ranked fourth on the list of biggest wine producers, behind only wine-giants France, Italy, and Spain, and is also gaining a reputation for producing delicious bottles, too.
There’s been wine in America since the Europeans arrived. But that was all small batch, and it wasn’t so much part of the country’s identity. Around the 19th century, the wine industry began to take off, especially in the country’s main wine region, California. Today, California produces some 90% of the country’s wine! At the centre of that is Napa Valley, where you’ll find vineyards that have been doing their thing since around 1830.
Over the decades, the American wine industry has continued to grow and grow, to the point where now, it’s a major player. This is in part driven by the dreamy quality of their wine region. Delicious wines, picturesque settings, and more -- what’s not to love?
You’ll find people producing wine in every state of America. But they don’t all produce wine on the same scale; far from it. As we mentioned above, California is overwhelmingly responsible for the country’s output. But happily, California is a big place, so that means there’s a bunch of different regions in the state.
The biggest is Napa Valley, which is famous the world over, and is known for the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Along with Napa, Sonoma Valley is the most famous. There you’ll find outstanding Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, all produced in a beautiful environment.
You’ve also got Lodi, which is located around 1.5 hours from San Francisco, and which is known for its Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. It’s a little smaller than Napa Valley and Sonoma, but the quality of its wines are believed by many to be superior.
You’ll find many, many grapes used by vineyards across the US, but there are some that are used more than others. The most popular include:
A tour of the vineyards of the USA is on the cards more or less all year round. But if you want to be around for the harvest celebrations, then book your trip for September and October, and sometimes into November, when the vineyards of California are abuzz with activity and good times.
Looking for a taste of America? Try one of the following wines of America from our collection:
Find out more about other wine producing countries: