Compared to Europe, the history of viticulture in the USA is still very young. Nevertheless, with 450,000 hectares of vineyards, the USA is among the top five in the world. However, one third of this area is used for the cultivation of raisins. Wine is produced in almost all of the fifty states, but only California, New York, Washington and Oregon have achieved international recognition to date. California accounts for nine-tenths of total production. As you might expect, the natural conditions for growing grapes are very different for such a large country. California alone has a wide variety of climates, ranging from coastal areas where grapes have difficulty ripening to the Central Valley, where it is basically too hot for elegant wines. That viticulture is still in its infancy is also shown by the fact that so far only in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley have the top vineyards been identified and planted with vines. However, cool-climate regions are already being identified and, as in Washington, excellent, elegant wines are being produced.
America is both a major wine producer and a major wine consumer, producing 12% of the world’s wine. Although wine is produced in every state in the U.S., California is by far the most significant wine region, accounting for about 85% of all wine produced in America. Other states that are significant wine producers include Oregon, Washington, New York and Virginia. Over one hundred grape varieties are grown in California, including French, Italian, Spanish, and hybrid grapes. Thanks to California’s reliably warm weather, winemakers can use very ripe grapes, resulting in fruity wines that are very reminiscent of the style of New World wines.
California wine is enjoying increasing international popularity. In particular, the Zinfandel grape variety is considered a typical American red wine grape variety. Powerful yet fruity red wines are produced from the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz. The undisputed number one in terms of white wine in the USA is Chardonnay. Depending on the growing region, the Chardonnay grape variety produces full-bodied wines that are usually given the finishing touch by aging in oak barrels.
Most important grape varieties (WHITE)
Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc.
Main grape varieties (RED)
Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, PinotNoir,Grenache, Cabernet Franc
Behind the top three producers Italy, France and Spain, the USA is in 4th place (99% California). The price p/l increased by 10% to 2.29€/l and is thus above the average of the last years of 2.02€/l.