Monday, 11 June 2012 20:03

Rest of USA

Climate is the biggest challenge facing vintners in most states. Traditional EuropeanVitis vinifera grape varieties don't thrive in hot humid summers and cold winters causing winemakers in many states to choose hardier native American or French-American hybrid grapes.

That said, New York's Finger Lakes and Long Island are well established vinifera regions, and new wineries focused on European grapes are proliferating in Virginia, Maryland, and the Southwest, especially Arizona and Texas. New Mexico's high elevation vineyards produce very fine European style sparkling wines as well as appealing reds. 

In the Northeast, especially NY's Finger Lakes region, Riesling and Gewurztraminer aboud, and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc benefit from the slightly longer growing season on Long Island. Virginia winemakers produce terrific Chadonnay and Viognier, and Idaho is becoming a source of well-crafted vinifera-based whites. 

Red wine producers are doing well in many pockets throughout the country. In NY, Long Island vintners work with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, while winemakers in the cool-climate Finger Lakes region focus on Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. In Virginia, local grape varieties like Norton grow alongside increasing amounts of vinivera varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Tannat (a powerful red grape native to SW France. In Texas and Arizona, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah vines do well, and producers are becoming successful with Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranilllo, and Sangiovese. (Source: Food and Wine's Wine Guide 2012)

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