Wine has been produced in America since the 17th century but it only recently broke the international market (around thirty years ago).
Although 45 out of 50 states have vineyards, 90% of American wine production comes out of California. The other important wine regions are Washington State, Oregon, the South and the South West. Canada too has a long viticultural tradition.
Similarly to Australian and New Zealand wines, America's output of single variety wines has proved hugely successful. Californian wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are renowned the world over.
The AVA (American Viticultural Area), who certify all wines in the country, gives winemakers plenty of freedom and allows them to blend any combination of grape varieties they choose. There still exist a few native vines, such as the famous Lambrusca but European vines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are more widely planted and generally produce superior quality wines.
California benefits from a sunny climate and vineyards are laid out to a huge variety of different grape varieties. For decades now California has been one of the most prosperous and exciting regions in the winemaking world.
Red wine, white wine, sweet wine and rosé: with over 750 domains, California produces an enormous range of different wines. The principle winemaking regions are Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley.
Most Californian wines are single variety wines: Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are the preferred varieties for reds while Chardonnay is used for whites. Many winemakers here also produce Bordeaux blends (often called 'Meritage') using Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. White blends are also popular and Bordeaux varieties such as Sauvignon, SÃ©millon and Muscadelle are frequently used. Califonia also produces sparkling wines from Pinot Noir that are made according to the 'traditional method', as well as off-dry whites (Riesling, GewÃ¼rztraminer) and sweet wines (Chenin Blanc, Muscat).