While exotic wines from France, Italy, and Portugal are known for quality, mysticality, and intrigue, we often forget about the winemakers right here in our backyard. U.S. wines - and the areas they hail from - are special in their own right.
We asked our Bright Cellars’ community, “where do your favorite U.S. wines come from?” and the results? Well, the results are crystal clear.
- 57.1% of respondents said their favorite U.S. wines come from California
- 19% of respondents said they prefer wines from Washington
- 16.8% of respondents said Oregon was their favorite U.S. wine producer
- 5.3% of respondents reported their favorite U.S. wines come from New York
- 1.8% of respondents said their favorite U.S. wines come from Texas
We also asked our Bright Cellars Instagram community and got some additional responses, including other states:
- Anywhere from the West Coast - Washington, Oregon, California - they’re all my fave!
- California or Virginia
We’re happy to hear that Arkansas and Virginia are getting some love outside of the standard wine producers we shared! Let’s explore a high-level overview of what makes each of these U.S. winemaking areas unique.
It’s no surprise that California won our poll by a landslide. You’ve of course heard of Napa Valley, Sonoma, and other notable winemaking regions in the state. Cali is often dubbed the “wine country” of America, producing more wine than all other 49 states combined. Chardonnay is California’s most planted variety with Cabernet Sauvignon following close behind.
When you first think of Washington, do you picture a dismal, dreary, rainy day? We do too. Turns out the Evergreen State actually averages about 300 days of sunshine per year.
As one of the largest premium wine producers in the United States, the state produces more than 70 grape varieties - nearly all grown to the east of the Cascade mountain range.
Oregon is known for its distinct mountains, fertile valleys, and ongoing shores. The state is also known, even internationally, for its Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.
Due to the northern latitude, grapes get extra sunlight throughout the growing season. Cool nights help the grapes maintain their acidity.
The characteristic that makes this wine region different? Oregon winemakers will tell you it’s in the people, the process, and the commitment to staying hands on. Oregon is the third largest wine producing state, yet it still produces artisan inspired, small batch wine.
With more than 471 wineries and 35,000 vineyard acres, New York may not be the biggest wine producer in the U.S., but this cool-climate state has found its niche. New York is home to cooler climate styles of wine such as Riesling.
And they do have the history to prove it. The first vineyards were planted by Dutch settlers in the 17th century when they found wild vines growing near the Hudson Valley.
While Texas didn’t quite get the votes this time around, we wouldn’t count them out just yet. Texas is known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and shows promise for drought-resistant Tempranillo and Mourvèdre.
IN VINO FINITO
Whether you prefer wine from Europe or other exotic places across the water, sometimes it’s important to remember to support the winemakers who live right here in the U.S. We’ll be the first to say - the U.S. has a good thing going when it comes to winemaking.