New world wines: American wines

New world wines: American wines

America, the land of opportunities. Delimiting with Canada and Mexico, America is a country with large areas of soils and climates suitable for viticulture. The American wines are recognized throughout the world. The US strains were resistant to phylloxera. Thanks to them, many European strains could be replanted on rootstock.

There is a remarkable difference between American wines and European wines. Americans are characterized for being made by using methods and processes attached to state of art technologies, having success at obtaining wines of really good quality.

North America is known worldwide for its Cabernets and its Zinfandel, aboriginal grapes. Especially California with the Napa Valley and Sonoma County regions, but there are also great wines in New York, Oregon, Washington, and other states.

Best wine producing countries worldwide

The United States has been among the top five wine-producing countries in the world for years. Recently, it has occupied important places at the international level, together with Italy, France and Spain. Wine consumption in America is still reserved for the largest cities and the most educated strata of the population. The market is dominated by national wines, which 87% of total production is produced by California.

Wine is made in 45 out of the 50 states of the United States. The diversity of landscapes, soils and microclimates has allowed the development of a really wide spectrum of wines. However, California has been the drive that made American wines stand out, not just within the country, but also all around the world.

Main regions of the United States where wines are produced

Napa Valley is one of the wine regions of California, of great importance worldwide. There are currently more than 400 Napa Valley winemakers based in this region.  One of the main characteristics of their wines is that they combine modern tech with traditional techniques.

Sonoma is another of the most important Californian areas known for its Pinot Noir, which, due to the climate of the area, requires longer ripening times, which influences the concentration of aromas and flavors. In the Northwest of the USA, there is the second best known area for its wines in the country, Washington has almost 14,000 hectares of vineyards.

The state owes its fame to its white wines based on Chardonnay and Riesling. In reds, the Merlot grape stands out. Oregon has 2,500 ha, it’s a cool region, where Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, White Riesling and Pinot Gris grow.

Diversity of climates in the United States

In America there is a great variety of climates, from the tropical to the sub-arctic tundra. In California we find a Mediterranean climate, where the breezes from the Pacific Ocean moderate the heat in the summer and keep the winters very mild. Towards the Northeast, the humid continental dominates, with freezing winters and intense summers. In this region viticulture is feasible in those places where the climate is softened by large rivers, lakes or by the Atlantic Ocean.

Napa and Sonoma counties, north of the San Francisco Bay, are the heart of the California quality wine industry.


It’s the best known winemaking region in America. It has more than 150 years of winemaking tradition. The predominant strains are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Zinfandel used for red wines and blushes (rosés), Pinot noir and Merlot for reds, Sauvignon Blanc for dry whites and Chenin Blanc for white wines. dry or liquorous.

Certain varieties are also used to make Bordeaux-style blends, called "meritage," using Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot for reds, and Sauvignon, Semillon, and Muscadelle for whites. The winemakers are currently oriented towards more complex and subtle nectars.


Thanks to its size and geography, Sonoma County gives wines a wide range of expression possibilities. The interest in Sonoma wines is tied to quality, and the key to quality lies in the traditional crops of this county. Many of the crops there, especially apples, require a cooler climate than most parts of California.

For grapes, this climate means longer ripening times, which influences the concentration of aromas and flavors. The aromas of the grapes are found in the wines from their youth and they last with elegance until a venerable age.

In America, wine is produced in several states and localities, however, the legislation so far recognizes four of them. Based on the quantity of production, elaboration and quality of their products. These four main regions are:

  • California (Southwest)
  • New York (Northeast)
  • Oregon (Northwest)
  • Washington (Northwest)

Legislation of American wines

By law, the following is required on bottle labels:

Region of origin: To be marked with this label, the wine must be made 100% with grapes from that region.

County: The wines that list the county on the label, must have at least 75% of the grapes from that county.

Vintage: if indicated, the label must contain at least 95% of the vintage.

Appeals of origins are called AVA (American Viticultural Areas). Indicates that the content must be a minimum of 85% from the specified AVA region. It gives guarantee of a quality wine.

Now, we’re going to list 3 wines produced in the United States, which will help you determine which American wine you should try.

2016 Caymus: The Caymus 2016 Cabernets are the result of a very special climate and soil conditions of the Napa Valley, which is, in fact, an agricultural reserve located just an hour north of San Francisco where Cabernet wine grapes dominate.

Robert Mondavi Cabernet: The Robert Mondavi Cabernet 750 ml Red Wine has received different awards that recognize it as a wonderful option. It comes from the Napa region in California, United States. Part of its grapes come from the To Kalon vineyard, one of the most renowned in the area.

The Robert Mondavi Cabernet has 88% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot and 2% Malbec and Petit Verdot. It’s stored16 months in French oak barrels to acquire its characteristic color, aroma and flavor. Resulting in an intense cherry red wine with purple highlights and reddish edges. 

Final thoughts

The United States of America is one of the main producers and consumers of wines worldwide, presenting a wide variety of wines that are cataloged by experts as the best at an international level.

We hope that, with this article, you have obtained the necessary information for an optimal choice of wines produced in the United States, when making your purchase, remember to pass by to “” wine store; it has enough stock and variety to guarantee quality and enjoyment for all  wine lovers.

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  • Fabianni Posteraro
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