The United States of Wine

You may remember a recent article I published positing that American-made wine is the next big thing. There’s no doubt it’s on the rise thanks to health-conscious consumers and a strong push for innovation in the wake of climate change. So with demand for American wine & spirits rising, it stands to reason that production must be as well.

The U.S. opened 258 new wineries across 38 different states in November of 2018 alone. With numbers like these, you might wonder if Napa Valley will lose its reputation as the premier wine destination in the country. I pulled the statistics and you might be surprised at what I found. Here are the top five wine-producing states in the U.S. along with the varieties they are best known for.

5. Texas

Coming in at number five on our countdown, Texas is responsible for 3% of U.S wineries and 1% of annual U.S. production. The states 323 wineries were credited with the net production of 1.9 million cases of wine as of July 2018. The region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon and their experimentation with drought-resistant Tempranillo and Mourvedre.

4. Oregon

Oregon’s penchant for Pinot Noir and it’s cool-climate production methods have earned it the number four spot in the countdown. The state boasted a net production of 4.5 million cases of wine in their 773 wineries. In addition to Pinot Noir, the region has also received international acclaim for it’s Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.

3. New York

New York holds a rather interesting position in our countdown. The state is home to only 396 wineries (roughly half of the number in Oregon) but was responsible for the net production of 12 million cases as of the latest Wines & Vines report. For this reason, they catapulted to the number three spot in the countdown.  Although the region is starting to incorporate more European varieties into its repertoire, it’s best known for the grape that is planted more than any other: the Concord.

2. Washington

Washington state clocked in with just three more wineries than Oregon in 2018, but that didn’t stop them from producing roughly 3 million more cases of wine — putting their net production at 15 million cases. This makes them the second largest producer in the United States. Washington grows a large variety of grapes but, according to the Washington Wine Commission, Syrah, Bordeaux blends, and Riesling have some of the highest potentials.

1. California
As the number one state in our countdown, California is responsible for 45% of the wineries and 86% of wine production in the United States. That’s 4,425 wineries and 284 million cases. In fact, California produces more wine than the rest of the 49 states combined. Chardonnay is perhaps it’s most planted, but Cabernet Sauvignon is a close second.  

So it seems that, despite climate change, wildfires, and labor shortages, California and the Napa Valley are likely to hold their position as the premier wine destination in the United States. For at least a little while!

Wine, AmericaTorie Amrani