US wine has been made since 1769 with the founding of the San Diego mission by the Spanish. Winemaking gradually spread further north as they planted more missions, with the first grapes planted in Napa Valley in the 1830s. Although winemaking declined during Prohibition, today the USA is the world's fourth largest producer with Americans consuming more wine per capita than any other nation.
Key US Wine Regions
Over 90% of US wine is made in California where the warm climate and huge variety of terroirs provide optimal winemaking conditions. The state is dominated by the Napa Valley wine wegion which is known for its powerful reds and oaky whites and cooler Sonoma County which is home to the Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley to name just a few. Beyond California, Oregon and Washington State have recently earned a reputation for elegant, cooler climate reds and whites.
US Grape Varieties
Most popular wines in the USA are made from almost all major European grape varieties, with Bordeaux favourites like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc dominating in most regions. Cooler areas like coastal parts of Sonoma and Oregon are well known for their elegant Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Zinfandel is particularly popular in warmer California wine regions. US winemakers continue to experiment with a huge range of other varieties, including Mediterranean staples like Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, and Tempranillo.