Wine Regions of the USA - America Wine Regions
America wine regions are situated in many states both east and west coast and also in some unexpected areas
where local climates should not, in theory, be conducive to growing grapevines. Here is a rundown of some of the
wine regions of the USA.
Washington Wine Country
The sixties saw the unfolding of another winemaking region in the very unexpected locale of Washington State.
Though near latitudes that encompass two of the great French wine regions, Bordeaux and Burgundy, the vineries in
the Washington wine region also experience chilly and occasionally
rainy autumns and winters. Less than desirable conditions for grapevines at the end of their ripening season.
However, because of their northerly latitude, those vineyards have the benefit of up to two more hours of sunlight
per day throughout the growing season than does Northern California. Additionally, east of the Cascades, rainfall
is modest, averaging less than ten inches per annum. Low precipitation and humidity help minimize mildew and
diseases harmful to vines and their fruit.
Oregon Wine Regions
Amongst the American viticulture areas in Oregon, there are the Willamette Valley, Umpqua, Rogue and Illinois
Valleys and parts of Walla Walla and the Columbia Gorge shared with Washington. Winemaking in the Oregon wine region continues to be a challenge, as a result of it's mostly rainy
climate, limited hours of sunlight, cooler temperatures and frequent frosts in the autumn. Thanks to the large
climate changes from year to year, vintage quality wines vary greatly. Some years produce a high-alcohol,
below-average acidity fruit while others, because of dry winters and wet springs, produce lower alcohol and varied
flavor profiles. Furthermore, others see late season rain after intense summertime heat, to produce concentrated
flavors and smooth tannin's.
New York Wine Country
As far as America wine regions are concerned, California is justifiably
famed for its wines but it comes as a surprise to some folks to discover that New York has long been a serious
contender in terms of quality. Winemaking in the New York region dates back centuries. Ten thousand years ago Ice
Age glaciers etched away an ideal area for growing wine grapes. Once the glaciers thawed, the effect of the melted
water on the air combined with the cliffs to funnel ocean breezes through the region to create the perfect climatic
conditions. Dutch colonists capitalized on this 350 years ago and planted vines on a small island later named
Manhattan. The Dutch were the first to plant common grape vine or vinifera, but discovered it would not survive in
this colder region. Eventually cultivators learned that vinifera could be grafted onto native rootstock and
production started in earnest.
California Wine Regions
In the wine areas of Northern California, the terrain and climate bear similarities to that of rural France but
on a vastly smaller scale. For instance, the Napa Valley is only thirty-five miles long and five miles wide, while
Sonoma County covers sixteen hundred square miles along sixty miles of coastline. At most, there are only a few
hundred wineries sited throughout the whole area. A little further north is Mendocino County, with thirty wineries
of its own, and whose three and a half thousand square miles of cool climate helps create Chardonnay and Pinot
Noir. However, those wineries have had a hard struggle over the last two hundred years. Since Russian settlers
planted vines in 1812, through the founding of the wine industry by Spanish Franciscans in 1823, up through
prohibition to today, winemaker's have made heroic efforts to produce wines that rival the best of France and
In a state that produces ninety percent of all US wine, the vineries of Sonoma and Napa in Northern California
are justly famous, but they have no monopoly on quality. Wines from the newer Southern California wineries are an
equal match for any of those produced by their northern counterparts. Most Southern California wine comes from the
wineries near Santa Barbara or those near San Diego, which are one hundred miles north and south of Los Angeles
respectively. Each area has participated actively in the growth of the California wine industry which now ships
over four hundred million gallons a year to the US and elsewhere.