American Wine Guide


Thanks to Californian wines, USA has proven to be a serious rival of France and Italy in terms of high-quality production.

There are vineyards in all the States of this vast country but the more important lie on the West Coast. On the Pacific coast the sites are so diverse in terms of climate, relief or soil.

History of American Wine

The United State's wine production began during the seventieth century when European settlers had to use vitis labrusca, the native grapes, to make wine. It is only in the eighteenth century that the European varieties arrived on the continent to make Mass wine. During the nineteenth century, California began to improve the quality of its wines thanks to better grapes. However, the wine industry went downhill because of phylloxera and Prohibition laws which led to the Californian vineyards in state of neglect.

But the 1960's are the renaissance of American wine thanks to the important works of winemakers like Robert Mondavi. They developed California potential to make superior quality wines. After that, small wine estates settled in Oregon and Washington. But once again phylloxera hit California and the producers had to find a solution. Two possibilities were discovered: the cloning of grape or grafted stock.

Since this glorious period, the American West Coast is still booming. Thanks to the western States, USA is the fourth global producer with California supplying 90% of American wines. Wine consumption is included in American habits and the country is one of the great world consumers. The appellation system is based on the AVA (American Viticultural Area) referring to either a State, a county like Sonoma or a smaller area like Napa Valley.

Wine regions in USA

California is the most important wine-growing region of USA in terms of quality and quantity. Nowadays, Oregon and Washington in the north-west are taken into account as fast-growing wine regions.

Others regions like Virginia, New York or Texas are more leaned towards the domestic market.

The Californian classic red wine is full-bodied, highly alcoholic, and richly fruit-driven.

Main Grape Varieties in USA

Cabernet Sauvignon is a very common red variety in California. It can produce extraordinary wines with complex ripe flavors and strong toasty notes.

Zinfandel is California signature grape and can give every possible aromas from red wine. Merlot is used for full-bodied, powerful and intense Californian wines. The wines from Washington are more refreshing and crisp with plum flavors. Cooler areas in California grow Pinot Noir and produce rich and velvety wines with some of the best aromas of the New World production. Oregon use this grape to make high quality smooth wines which can age very well. Syrah wines are rich and complex, with generous black or red fruits aromas.

California produces a large variety of Chardonnay wines, some more like Burgundy style some more traditional with high alcohol level and intensity. In Washington, the Chardonnay is more fruit-driven.

Sauvignon Blanc is strongly decreasing in California. The wines matured in oak are labelled «Fumé Blanc».

Our wines from USA