The United States is a major player in the world wine market, known for wines from various regions within it. The US is the fourth-largest producer of wine in the world following Italy, France, and Spain. California is the US’s biggest wine-producing state by a very large margin. And that’s not a big surprise as California’s favorable climate and lack of natural pests. American wines are classified according to a system called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) which are mostly geographical boundaries, they don’t really tell you what you can or can’t plant.

There are literally hundreds of varietals planted in the US with Cabernet Sauvignon as the most planted red grape variety followed by another ‘old-world’ Bordeaux-style top dog red grape, Merlot. Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Syrah are the other important and most planted red grape varieties.

California is definitely still the most developed wine area not on the west coast but in America.

The conditions, especially on the West Coast, are really good for growing grapes. The sun is abundant and at the same time, there’s a really nice cooling effect from the Pacific.

Oregon is a relative newcomer to the wine scene in the world while Washington State is probably third in line for the greatest wine growing state. Washington like Oregon is a relatively young wine-growing area where in the daytime it’s quite hot in the summer and the night it cools down considerably. This weather effect creates wines with fairly rich fruit but at the same time good acidity.

Photo credit: Tim Mossholder