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American Wine Month 2020 Presents
American Wine Month 2020

At VinePair, we know that our readers love wine as much as we do, and the reasons go far beyond the grapes, the vines and the incredible terroir. What we love, as much as the liquid itself, is the community that wine has created across the nation. It's this collaborative spirit and experimental ethos that has caused grapes to be planted and wine to be made in every single state across the U.S., providing countless new ways to connect over a glass.

That's why this November here at VinePair we're devoting a large portion of our content to American wine, and below we're highlighting some of our favorite regions in an interactive map. Some you are probably very familiar with, others we believe you should get to know. To start exploring, simply hover over a region's name and click to jump straight down to all the content about that region. This country has so much incredible wine to drink, it's time to get to it.


Alexander Valley

Granted AVA status in 1983, the region is named after Cyrus Alexander, owner of a part of the Rancho Sotoyome Mexican land grant. Capable of producing a wide range of varieties, the area has grown notable for quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines.

Arizona

There are more than 100 wineries in Arizona’s two AVAs. Many different grape varieties thrive in the state’s warm climate, though varieties native to Italy and southern France have garnered a quality reputation.

Columbia Valley

Columbia Valley is home to more than 50,000 acres of planted vines and lies mostly within Washington State with a small section sitting in Oregon. Because of its size and diverse microclimates, there are nine designated sub-AVAs. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape followed by Merlot, Riesling, Chardonnay and Syrah.

Finger Lakes

Riesling is the top grape in the Finger Lakes AVA. The region’s temperatures are moderated by eleven deep glacial lakes in the area, which store heat into the late Fall helping extend the growing season.

Lodi

Best known for its old-vine Zinfandel, central California’s Lodi AVA was first recognized in 1986. The Mokelumne River sub-AVA is home to most of the state’s 100-year-old vines, where sandy soils contribute to Zinfandel’s intense floral aromatics.

Long Island

Long Island is home to North Folk and The Hamptons AVAs. The region attracts a rush of visitors and vacationers during peak summer months. Many grape varieties do well here including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Maryland

The earliest recorded instance of viticulture in Maryland dates back to 1648, but the first winery wasn’t established until 1945. Today, Maryland is home to more than 80 wineries in four distinct growing areas, with a wide variety of grapes planted throughout the state.

Michigan

Michigan has five AVAs, all of which are within 25 miles of Lake Michigan. The lake helps moderate the climate allowing for a 145-day growing season in the north and 160-day growing season in the south. Hybrids and grapes suited to cooler climates perform best in Michigan.

Monterey

More than half of the grapes grown in Monterey AVAs are Chardonnay. Riesling and Pinot Noir are also quite popular in the north, while Bordeaux varieties take centre stage in the warmer areas in the south.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley became known as one of the world’s premier wine regions after several wines bested French counterparts in the famous Judgement of Paris tasting of 1976. Today, the region boasts more than 450 wineries in 16 sub AVAs and proudly waves Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as its flagship red and white grape varieties.

New Mexico

The original vines planted along the banks of the Rio Grande were smuggled from Spain in the 1620s. Today, winegrowers produce wines from hybrid grapes in addition to heritage grapes thanks to significant funding from the government in 1978. New Mexico now has more than 60 wineries across three AVAs.

Paso Robles

Located approximately halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles AVA was established in 1983 and is known for its heritage varietal Zinfandel along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhône-style wines.

Sta. Rita Hills

Established as an AVA in 2001, several Sta. Rita Hills wineries were featured in the movie Sideways in 2004. The cool coastal breezes off the Pacific Ocean make it an ideal growing environment for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while Syrah is also gaining a solid reputation.

Sonoma

Spanning 47 miles from north to south, Sonoma County is home to more than 250 wineries and 13 AVAs. The region grows a variety of grapes, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.

Temecula

As part of California’s South Coast AVA, Temecula Valley has a dry and semi-arid Mediterranean-esque climate. While international varieties such as Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc are common, grapes common to the Rhône as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel do exceptionally well.

Texas

Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the nation with more than 400 wineries across three growing regions and eight AVAs. The dry, sunny climate allows for grapes like Tempranillo, Syrah, Albariño, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel to thrive.

Virginia

Wine has been produced in the Old Dominion since the early days of European colonization in the 17th century. Thomas Jefferson planted grapes at his home here nearly 250 years ago. The state is known for its nearly 200-day growing season that produces mostly Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc, along with Merlot, Vidal Blanc, and Viognier.

Walla Walla

Red grape varieties dominate the Walla Walla AVA with 83 percent of vineyards occupied by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Only 3 percent of the region’s planted area is covered by white varieties, namely Chardonnay and Viognier.

Willamette Valley

Pinot Noir is the flagship variety among the region’s 500-plus wineries, all of which are within a two-hour drive from Portland. With seven sub-AVAs, the majority of the vineyards are planted to the west of the Willamette River along the area’s many tributaries.

Yakima Valley

Yakima Valley was the first AVA to be recognized in Washington State (est. 1983) and is home to some of the state’s oldest Chardonnay vines — the most widely planted variety. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon represent the AVA’s leading red varieties.