As one of the most recognized wine producing regions in the world, California produces 90% of American wine. But did you know that chilly northern states like Minnesota and North Dakota have their own wine industries thanks to special grape varieties bred at the University of Minnesota to withstand the cold climate? Or that wine has been grown in New Mexico since the 17th century?
Every U.S. state produces wine from grapes, fruit or honey, and this summer is the perfect time to try a bottle from each.
In Jemison, visit Hidden Meadow Vineyard and try the muscadine dessert wine, a truly indigenous American grape that gets big respect in the South and does particularly well in Alabama.
Look to the northernmost state for fruit and grape blends such as Bear Creek Winery’s strawberry rhubarb wine, which is made with local produce.
Arizona grape growers credit the diurnal shift and seasonal storms for productive vineyards. Alcantara Vineyards makes 2016 malvasia bianca Yavapai County with estate-grown grapes to exhibit the local quality.
The Winery of Hot Springs‘ white is made with classic southern muscadine, which the winery claims is “nature’s healthiest grape.”
It’s hard to choose just one, but I’m going with Bonny Doon Vineyard‘s 2013 Le Cigare Volant, which is the 30th-anniversary release of the flagship wine. Bonny Doon proprietor Randall Grahm has created an all-American project, Popelouchum, through which he plans to breed 10,000 new grape varieties to create a true vin de terroir California wine.
Grande River Vineyards‘ 2015 Viognier is award-winning and estate-grown in Palisade near the Colorado River.
Taylor Brooke Corot Noir is a pinot noir-style hybrid developed for cooler climates and shorter growing seasons, as experienced in the Northeast.
Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel makes its White No. 47 from estate-grown vidal blanc; late harvest vidal blanc is also used to make a dessert wine.
Try Cross Creek Groves‘ dry Orange Sunshine wine, which is made from 100% Florida Valencia oranges.
Habersham Vineyards and Winery’s 2016 Georgia Creekstone cabernet sauvignon is estate-grown and aged in Hungarian oak.
Volcano Winery’s award-winning macadamia nut honey wine is made from local honey for a truly unique product.
Idaho is turning heads in the wine world, and Fujishin Family Cellars‘ 2015 tempranillo is made with 100% Snake River Valley fruit.
Illinois Sparkling Co. makes award-winning bubbles, and one to try this summer is Brut Ombré Rosé, made from 100% Illinois-grown chambourcin.
Butler Winery has been making wine in Indiana Uplands AVA since 1983 – try the estate-grown 2017 Butler Vineyards Chardonel.
Tabor Home Vineyards and Winery has been a working family farm for five generations. For a taste of Iowa wine, sample the saint croix, which the winery believes could be “Iowa’s premier red wine grape.”
Somerset Ridge Vineyards and Winery makes a dry traminette from 100% estate-grown grapes in Somerset.
Talon Winery ages Monarch, a medium-bodied red blend, in Kentucky white oak barrels, and proceeds benefit the 9th Annual Luau for Life Pediatric Cancer Survivor Picnic.
Louisiana food enthusiast Jay Ducote and Landry Vineyards owner and winemaker Jeff Landry paired up on Louisiana-grown Jay D’s blanc du bois dry, made to match classic Louisiana food.
Oyster River Winegrowers’ 2017 Morphos is a pét nat, a slightly bubbly wine that experienced part of its fermentation in the bottle. Native yeasts are used, and winemaker Brian Smith keeps things low-tech with minimal intervention.
Great Shoals Winery has appropriately named its vidal blanc bottling Atlantic. “We believe that the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic are part of what makes our state so special,” says the winery.
Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod is a maritime vineyard and the sole vinifera vineyard in the area. Try the 2015 cabernet franc, which is the winery’s signature variety.
Grand Mark Methode Champenoise from Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant is bubbly made from 100% Lake Michigan Shore AVA pinot noir and chardonnay. Tabor Hill’s wines have even been served in the White House.
Saint Croix Vineyards’ La Crescent is a new University of Minnesota variety made to withstand the short growing season and cool climate of this northern state. This wine won the Minnesota Governor’s Cup at the 2010 International Cold Climate Wine Competition.
Beekman and Beekman honey wine is a mead made from pure Tupelo honey before sur lie aging in both new and used French oak barrels. Proprietor Matt Beekman works to evoke the character of each honey source in his wines.
Noboleis Vineyards is located in Augusta AVA, the first-ever recognized official American wine-growing region. Try the dry vignoles for a taste of this beautiful area.
Hidden Legend Winery‘s marechal foch is a French hybrid grape that can withstand freezing temperatures longer than most other varieties.
Nissen Wine’s Sam Bass Outlaw Trail red wine is made from Nebraska grapes grown in two vineyards located on the Outlaw Trail, 231 miles of scenic Highway 12, which runs from Sioux City to Valentine, honoring the routes of “Native American Tribes, outlaws, cowboys and pioneers,” according to the winery.
“Nevada’s Winery in the Dessert,” Pahrump Valley Winery, is located to the west of Mount Charleston on the California-Nevada border. The Nevada Ridge primitivo is an award winner.
Jewell Towne Vineyards states it is the oldest winery in New Hampshire. The marechal foch 2015 won the Best Grown New Hampshire Wine at the 2016 Northeast Gold Medal Competition.
Beneduce Vineyards produces its dry rosé from Hunterdon County grapes – a “tribute to our family’s history as renowned Italian rose growers,” according to the website.
Southwest Wines cultivates more than 50 varieties in its Grant County vineyards grown at high desert elevation topping out 4,200 feet. Try the D.H. Lescombes chenin blanc named after Hervé Lescombes, a Burgundian winemaker who settled in New Mexico and planted vineyards.
Wine at Bedell Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island is thoughtfully crafted by Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker and author of the Long Island wine-growing appellation. Taste rosé 2017 is made with sustainably grown estate fruit and features a stunning label by artist Barbara Kruger.
The Biltmore Estate is a North Carolina classic. A must-try is the Biltmore Estate brut, a high-scoring bubbly blend of chardonnay and pinot noir.
Fluffy Fields Vineyard and Winery makes its own wine from cold-climate tolerant vineyards in North Dakota (and some fruit from Minnesota and Iowa). The 2017 Marquette is made from a cold-hardy hybrid developed at the University of Minnesota, one that shows promise with winemakers and drinkers.
Heineman Wines in Put-in-Bay has been around since 1888. The Watersnake noiret earned a gold at the 2017 Great American Wine Competition. Not familiar with noiret? It’s a Cornell University hybrid with rich color, peppery notes and balanced tannins.
At Woods and Waters Winery and Vineyard in Western Oklahoma, enjoy a meal and view with your glass of wine. Try the Catoosa Port, named after one of the largest inland river ports in the U.S., located near Tulsa.
Oregon is rich with world-class wine and a beautiful atmosphere that draws in visitors year-round. It’s difficult to choose a single spot to highlight, but Stoller Family Estate is an authentic Dundee Hills producer, with an eye on sustainability as the world’s first LEED Gold certified winemaking facility. Try the 2015 Dundee Hills pinot noir for a taste of this exceptional growing region.
Just outside of Philadelphia in Avondale, Va La Vineyards produces high-quality, small-batch wines from northern Italian varieties. If you can get it, a bottle of Mahogany Va La shows off the potential of the black mushroom soils of this vineyard through a blend of eight grape varities.
Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard is definitely worth the charming drive to Little Compton. The 2014 Unexpected Miracles (one of several bottles with positively inspired names) is an award-winning chardonnay, locally grown and hand-picked, and aged in Eastern European oak.
“Muscadines, once thought of as the fountain of youth, have been praised for significant levels of resveratrol, an organic molecule and powerful antioxidant,” according to Deep Water Vineyard. Of the five South Carolina-grown muscadine bottles, sample Lowcountry Red, made from ison muscadine – a dry and full-bodied bottle crafted for the farm-to-table dinners iconic of Charleston.
This winery embodies a simpler time in our country, with a homestead setting at Strawbale Winery. All of the grape wines (Strawbale also makes wine from other fruits) are South-Dakota grown and bottled on-site in the winery’s straw-insulated facility.
Spout Spring Estates is located about 35 miles northeast of Knoxville in a beautiful setting. The dry Appalachian rosé is made from estate-grown Grainger County sangiovese.
Stone House Vineyard overlooks Lake Travis in the Texas Hill Country, one of America’s most engaging wine regions. The 2015 Claros is made from estate-grown norton, a grape native to the U.S. that Stone House excels in cultivating and producing.
Castle Creek Winery is located near Moab, milepost 14 on the Colorado River. Vineyards are planted in the red rock soil characteristic of the region, reminding wine lovers that place is essential in wine grape growing. Try the chenin blanc, an award-winning, estate-grown bottle.
Iapetus Wine, in Vermont’s Champlain Valley, recognizes wine as a reflection of the environment, landscape and history. A true connection to place, Iapetus uses “yeast foraged from the vineyard microbiome” in Shelburne Vineyard. Sample Tectonic, made of 100% la crescent, a white wine that ferments on skins resulting in a stunning shade of pale coral.
There is a lot of great wine in Virginia, but any round-up of all-American wine should include a bottle influenced by founding father and wine-lover, Thomas Jefferson. Visit Stinson Vineyards near Charlottesville along the Monticello Wine Trail and sample the rosé of Tannat, a rare and beautiful bottle.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) Limited Heritage Series Winemakers’ red from Maryhill Winery is made from Columbia Valley cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and cabernet Franc. With Maryhill’s view of the Columbia River Valley, visitors are reminded of the balance between stewardship and agriculture, done right in this part of the country which is rich with high-quality wine.
Wine Tree Vineyards produces Traminette, a Cornell University hybrid of joannes seyve and gewürztraminer. “Suring primary fermentation, the floral bouquet of this wine could be sensed throughout the neighborhood,” the winery says.
Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery in Wisconsin’s Door County is a beautiful stop on any trip to the state. For a true taste of the region, sample the Door County cherry wine, one of the region’s most prominent products and a delight for summer sipping.
Table Mountain Vineyards is the product of Patrick Zimmerer’s senior thesis project on the topic of vineyard establishment in Wyoming. Now his land cultivates 12 grape varieties. Try Cowboy Reserve, made of frontenac for a dry and earthy taste of Wyoming.