Top Ten Sonoma County Appellations

Top Ten Sonoma County Appellations

A7C1A7

  1. Russian River Valley
    RR FestivalA1A2A3A4A5R4R12ecct0815corkheads01R7
    The Russian River Valley lies adjacent to and west of the city of Santa Rosa and incorporates the southern reach of the Russian River, where the river bends westward and cuts through the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. The AVA is characterized by regular cooling fog from the coast. The fog flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the river. The fog generally arrives in the evening or early morning and retreats before noon in the day. The appellation was granted AVA status in 1983 and accounts for about one-sixth of the total planted vineyard acreage in Sonoma County. In 2005 the AVA was expanded by 30,200 acres to 126,600 by recognizing previously overlooked portions of the fog regions. Presently the Russian River AVA includes more than 15,000 acres planted to wine grapes. About 80 wineries are present in the Russian River Valley. The area is known for its success with cool climate varietals, notably Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
    Links:
  2. Sonoma Valley
    AA1A2A3Springtime in California Wine CountryA5A6A7A8A9A10A11
    Sonoma Valley is known for its unique terroir with Sonoma Mountain protecting the area from the wet and cool influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. The Sonoma Mountains to the west help protect the valley from excessive rainfall. The cool air that does affect the region comes northward from San Pablo Bay through the Carneros region and southward from the Santa Rosa plain. Sonoma Valley has played a significant role in the history of California wine.
    Links:
  3. Dry Creek Valley
    A1California's Winegrape Growing Region of Sonoma CountyD2D3AD9D6D7D11D4D10D8
    Dry Creek Valley in the Russian River Valley centers around Dry Creek, a tributary of the Russian River, and is approximately 16 miles long and 2 miles wide. The appellation is known particularly for its Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel production. Dry Creek Valley AVA is home to the majority of the Sonoma Gallo vineyards, who established winery facilities in the valley in the early 1990’s.
    Links:
  4. Alexander Valley
    AA1A2A3A4A5A6A7A8A9C2C1B2C
    Alexander Valley runs along the Russian River north of Healdsburg to Mendocino County. It is one of the most densely planted vineyards in Sonoma County. Viticulture has existed in the area since the 1850s but the wine industry has only recently experienced success beginning in the 1960s with Simi Winery. Significant purchases of vineyard land by E & J Gallo Winery in 1988 and Kendall-Jackson in 1996 also raised the status of the Alexander Valley. Alexander Valley wines include Cabernet, Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
    Links:
  5. Los Carneros
    AA1A2A3A4A5C2C6C8
    Los Carneros spans the low hills of the Mayacamas Mountains dividing both Napa and Sonoma Valleys just north of San Pablo Bay. The larger portion of the AVA stretches into Sonoma County with grapes grown here also being allowed to use the Sonoma Valley AVA designation. The area’s close proximity to the Bay has made it an ideal location for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production with producers from international Champagne houses such as Moët et Chandon (Domaine Chandon California), Taittinger (Domaine Carneros), and Cava producers planting vineyards or sourcing grapes from the area.
    Links:
  6. Sonoma Mountain
    A1AA2A3A4S4S2A7A6S5S3
    The Sonoma Mountains, includes the town of Glen Ellen and is bordered on the west by the Sonoma Valley AVA. The area is known for the diverse micro-climates that occur within the crevices and folds of the hillside terrain and as such is home to production for a wide range of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Zinfandel.
    Links:
  7. Rockpile
    AA1A2A5A4A3A6A7A8A9A10A11
    Rockpile is situated at the northwest point of the Dry Creek Valley AVA, past Healdsburg. The area was first planted by Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Many of today’s vineyards were formerly occupied by a reservoir created by the Warm Springs Dam on the Russian River. The area is known for its fruity, ripe Zinfandels.
    Links:
  8. Sonoma Coast
    AA1A2A3A4A5A7A9A10A11
    Sonoma Coast contains more than 500,000 acres, mostly along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. It extends from San Pablo Bay to the border with Mendocino County. The appellation is known for its cool climate and high rainfall relative to other parts of Sonoma County. Pinot Noir grapes grow especially well in this region, where they benefit from slightly cooler day temperatures.
    Links:
  9. Knights Valley
    BB1TREASURY WINE ESTATES BERINGER KNIGHTS VALLEY VINEYARDB3B4B5B6B7B8K3K8K12
    Knights Valley occupies the boundaries between the southern end of the Alexander Valley AVA and the northern end of Napa Valley. Some of the earliest vineyards in the area were owned by Beringer Vineyards. The area is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon.
    Links:
  10. Chalk Hill
    A060110 Wine Country Trail Rides at the Emery EstateA2A3A4A5A6A7A8
    Chalk Hill is a sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley located near the town of Windsor along the foothills at the southern end of Alexander Valley and along the Santa Rosa plain. The name Chalk Hill comes from the unique volcanic soil of chalky white ash which enhances the planting of white wine varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The majority of the region’s wineries are located on the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains.
    Links:
  11. Fort Ross – Seaview
    AA1A2A3A4A5A6A7SONY DSCF12F13F16
    The 27,500-acre Fort Ross-Seaview American viticultural area is located in the western part of Sonoma County and contains 18 commercial vineyards on 506 acres. It lies entirely within the Sonoma Coast AVA and does not overlap other AVAs. Vineyards within this area are generally located on rounded ridges with summits extending above 1,200 feet consisting of steep, mountainous terrain made up of canyons, narrow valleys, ridges, and 800- to 1,800-foot peaks. The climate above 900 feet is influenced by longer periods of sunlight and is warmer than that in the surrounding land below.
    Links:
  12. Bennett Valley
    AA1A2A3A4A5B9B6B2
    Bennet Valley is one of Sonoma County’s newest AVAs and is a principal grape supplier to Kendall-Jackson. The AVA is surrounded to the south, east and west by the Sonoma Mountains and to the north by the city of Santa Rosa. The region receives a moderating effect on its climate from the Pacific Ocean through the coastal fogs and breeze that creep into the area from the southwest through Crane Canyon between Sonoma Mountain and Taylor Mountain.
    Links:
  13. Green Valley of Russian River Valley
    GG4G2G3
    Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA was formerly known as the Sonoma County Green Valley AVA. Located at the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley AVA, its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it one of the coolest appellations within Sonoma County. The climate in the Green Valley is even cooler than other parts of the Russian River Valley, and favors the cultivation of cool climate grape varietals. Seeking to connect the region with the more commercially successful Russian River Valley name, the appellation formally changed its name on April 23, 2007.
    Links:
  14. Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak
    P2P1gwadP8P5P6P7P
    The Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak Appellation is one of the highest elevation grape-growing regions in California. The AVA, which rises from 1,600 feet at its lowest point to 3,000 feet at the mountain’s peak, has grapes growing primarily at 1,800 feet and higher. The very high elevation of the mountain affects virtually every climatic element influencing wine grape production which includes fog cover, hours of daylight, daytime and nighttime temperatures, rainfall, and wind.
    Links:
  15. Links: Wine, Top Ten Wine Regions, Top Ten US Wine Regions, Top Ten Californian Wine Regions,

Enjoy!

Top Ten Californian Wine Regions

Top Ten Californian Wine Regions

L15A8B5

  1. Sonoma County, California
    GA3A8C1A7A11A7D6A3R12A7A10
    Although many associate premium California wines with Napa, Sonoma County is currently becoming a major wine destination in the world. Starting in 1812, Russian colonists planted grapes at Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. In 1823, Spanish Franciscan Father Altamira planted thousands of vines in Sonoma.  When the missions were taken over by the Mexican government in 1834, cuttings from Sonoma Mission vineyards were transported and planted throughout northern California. Today Sonoma County has 15 distinct AVAs with more than 250 wineries and 50 grape varieties including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, and the sought after Russian River, Carneros and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. It is estimated that the wine industry and related tourism contributes over $8 billion to the local economy each year, about 40% of the county’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Wine seekers love the laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere of many of the wineries.  The largest judging of American wines in the world, The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, is held yearly in Sonoma County’s quaint town of Cloverdale. In 2013, the event had over 5,500 entries from most of the wine regions represented in the United States.
    Links: Top Ten Sonoma County Appelations, Top Ten Sonom County Wineries, Top 100 Sonoma County Wines, http://sonoma.com/wineries/alphalistings.html, 
  2. Napa Valley, California

    The Napa Valley is undoubtedly the most famous wine region in the United States with more than 450 wineries producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot and zinfandel. Commercial wine production in the region dates back to the 19th century. John Patchett established the Napa Valley’s first commercial vineyard in 1858 although Charles Krug is commonly cited as establishing the area’s first winery in 1861.  Inglenook Winery in 1879 was the first Bordeaux style winery in the USA winning gold medals at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. By the end of the 19th century there were more than 140 wineries in the area. Of those original wineries, several still exist in the valley today including Beaulieu, Beringer, Charles Krug, Chateau Montelena, Far Niente, Mayacamas, Markham Vineyards, and Schramsberg Vineyards. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of the vine disease phylloxera, Prohibition, and the Great Depression. The modern era of winemaking in California began when Beaulieu hired André Tchelisticheff in 1938. He introduced key ideas which included aging wine in small French Oak barrels, cold fermentation, vineyard frost prevention, and malolactic fermentation. The wine industry in Napa Valley was cemented with the help of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, establishing this region as a producer of quality wine equal to that of Old World wine regions. Within the Napa Valley AVA, there are sixteen sub-AVAs, Los Carneros, Howell Mountain, Wild Horse Valley, Stags Leap District, Mt. Veeder, Atlas Peak, Spring Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Chiles Valley, Yountville, Diamond Mountain, Oak Knoll, Calistoga, and Coombsville.
    Links: http://napavalley.com/wineries/alphalistings.html,
  3. Temecula Valley, California
    TT1T3T6T10T13T9T11T12
    The Temecula Valley is a small, rural wine region in southern California with a climate similar to that of Spain and southern Italy. The region is one hour northeast of San Diego located in Riverside County. Over 200 years ago, winemaking began in California at Mission San Juan Capistrano fifty miles west of Temecula. The first modern commercial vineyards in Temecula Valley were established in 1968. There are over 40 wineries here. In addition to growing Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, varietals such as Viognier, Syrah and Pinot Gris have recently been added. In addition, Temecula Valley’s hotter climate is particularly well-suited to grapes such as the Rhône varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel.  The Annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival occurs in late spring.
    Links: http://www.temeculawines.org/,
  4. The Sierra Foothills, California
    FF1F2F5F4F3F7F6F8F9F10F11F12F13F14
    Grapes were introduced to the area in the nineteenth century during the California Gold Rush in the 1850’s in the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County. The Sierra Foothills AVA, reorganized in 1987,  includes eight California counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne and Yuba. The total area of the appellation is 2,600,000 acres, with nearly 6,000 acres of grapevines, one of the largest AVAs in the state of California. The most common grape variety is Zinfandel, but you will also find Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Barbera, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. There are over 100 wineries located within the Sierra Foothills AVA.
    Links: http://www.calwineries.com/explore/regions/sierra-foothills,
  5. Paso Robles, California
    AA1A2A6A7A8A9A13A4A5A11A10A12P18
    Paso Robles meaning Pass of the Oaks is located in the coastal mountain range of central California. In the County of San Luis Obispo wine grapes were introduced in 1797 by the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionary padres of the Mission San Miguel where wine making artifacts can still be seen. There are over 180 wineries with 26,000 acres of vineyards in this region. Commercial winemaking was introduced to the Paso Robles region in 1882. The Paso Robles wine region gained notoriety when Ignace Paderewski, a famous Polish statesman and concert pianist, visited Paso Robles, became enchanted with the area, and purchased 2,000 acres. In the early 1920s, he planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard that went on to become award-winners solidifying Paso Robles as a premier wine region. Now, in addition to the first plantings of the Rhône varietal Syrah in California, Paso Robles also has the largest acreage of Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne.  Some of the other 40 varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and old vine Zinfandel.
    Links: www.pasowine.com/wineries/,
  6. Santa Cruz Mountains
    CC1C2merlot grapesC4C5C6.5C6C7C8C9C10C11
    The Santa Cruz Mountains region, producing wine for over 150 years, was the first wine growing area to be distinguished primarily by a mountain range. The 400,000 acre appellation is framed by Mount Madonna in the south and Half Moon Bay in the north. Vineyards encompass 1,500 acres with currently over 70 wineries.  Top varietals here are pinot noir, merlot, syrah, chardonnay, and pinot grigio.  Although this region might be overlooked as it does not produce large quantities of wine, numerous award winning wines have emerged from the area since the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting.  David Bruce Winery was one of 12 California wineries to participate in this now famous event.  Since then, David Bruce wines have consistently taken top honors in competitive tastings.
    Links: www.scmwa.com/‎,
  7. Mendocino County
    AA2A3A5A6A7A10A11A12
    This region, one of the largest in California, is part of the larger North Coast AVA. The first vineyards were established in the 1850’s in the Redwood Valley by returning farmers who failed to find success during the California Gold Rush. Parducci Wines founded in 1931 during Prohibition, remained the only commercial winery in Mendocino until the late 1960’s. As of 2005, ten AVA’s have been designated: Anderson Valley,  Cole Ranch,  Covelo,  Dos Rios,  McDowell Valley, Mendocino, Mendocino Ridge,  Potter Valley,  Redwood Valley, and Yorkville Highlands. The majority of Mendocino County plantings are in the eastern side of the county, clustered around the cities of Redwood Valley, Ukiah and Hopland. The Anderson Valley is one of California’s coolest wine growing regions in the state. Since the 1980’s, the area has been associated with sparkling wine  due to the success of Louis Roederer’s California Roederer Estate. Chardonnay is the county’s leading planting followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot noir. Other varietals include Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, Charbono, Chenin blanc, Gewürztraminer, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Canelli, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot blanc,  Riesling, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Syrah, Viognier and Zinfandel. Because the county is focusing on organic viticulture, it has been designated as “California’s organic wine Mecca.”
    Links:
  8. Monterey County
    AA1A2A3A4A5A6A7A8A9M8M11M13
    Currently growing in popularity, Monterey County was selected as one of the world’s top ten wine destinations by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in February, 2013. The Spanish mission in Soledad supported the first wine grapes in the region. In the early 1960′s, several successful wineries emerged including Wente, Mirassou, Paul Masson, J. Lohr and Chalone. The 9 AVAs with over 175 vineyards include Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Lucas, Hames Valley, Chalone, Carmel Valley, San Antonio Valley, and San Bernabe. The northernmost region produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while the warmer regions support over 40 varietals. Monterey’s wine region expanded by 40 percent from 2012-2013, now producing 40,000 acres of grapes generating $630 million a year for the county. Popular varietals include Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs. This regions is know as a “viticultural laboratory’ because there is continual experimentation with new clones, trellising, water management and harvesting systems.
    Links: 
  9. Santa Barbara County
    BB1B2B3B4B5B6B7WineB9B10B11
    Santa Barbara County is unique as the coastal mountains, the Santa Ynez and San Rafael, lie east to west with valleys open to the Pacific Ocean.  The distinct microclimates, some of the coolest in California, create ideal conditions for growing grapes with ample acid, tannins and flavors. There are four official appellations: Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and Santa Rita Hills. Within the broad Santa Barbara County designation are several other micro-regions: the Los Alamos Valley region, Ballard Canyon, the Los Olivos District and the Santa Maria Bench. Paso Robles is technically a part of the Santa Barbara wine growing region. Slightly less than half of the grapes grown in Santa Barbara County are used by local vintners and the rest are exported to wineries outside the area.  There are 110 wineries growing outstanding pinot noir and chardonnay.
    Links: http://sbcountywines.com/SBC.html,
  10. San Joaquin Valley
    AA1A2A3A4California wine industry evolving to compete in 21st centuryA6grape bunch, very shallow focusA7A9A10A11
    The San Joaquin Valley is an agriculturally rich area growing cotton, grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  In addition, the majority of California’s wine, table and raisin grapes are grown in this valley. The San Joaquin valley is comprised of four main American AVAs: Fresno County, Fresno Diablo Grande, Stanislaus County, Salado Creek, Madera County, and the Tracy Hills. The San Joaquin Valley was discovered by Spanish explorers in the 150s but remained virtually uninhabited until the 1849 California Gold Rush. The first grapes were planted in the 1850s to quench the thirst of the Forty-Niners who migrated to California during this period. When irrigation was introduced in the 1880s, the agriculture industry began to flourish. The San Joaquin Valley has the richest and deepest soils in the world. The combination of soil and regional weather creates growing conditions that are ideal creating vines that are naturally vigorous. Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon do very well and reds such as Grenache, Tempranillo and Zinfandel shine.
    Links:
  11. Livermore Valley
    AA1A2A3A4A5A6L7L11L12L15L16
    Livermore Valley is part of the larger Central Coast appellation. Livermore winemaking dates back to 1849, when Robert Livermore’s grapes, planted in 1946 produced the first vintage. Charles Wetmore brought recognition to California wines, starting Cresta Blanca Winery in 1882 and winning the grand prize at the 1889 Paris International Exposition with a sauvignon blanc-semillon blend. The Wente family claims to have planted the state’s first Chardonnay in 1916 and is still prominent in the valley today. There are 4,000 acres of grapes and 50 wineries in the valley today. Despite Livermore’s reputation for having a hot climate, temperature surveys show it to be similar to Napa Valley. Bold reds such as Petit Sirah, Syrah, Malbec, Barbera, zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon love this hotter temperature region. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are also grown in the cooler parts of the valley.  Livermore still needs a few blockbuster wines to reach the standard of great California wine regions but all the elements are in place for this to occur sometime in the near future if the current urban sprawl doesn’t consume the agricultural growth of the region.
    Links:
  12. Links: Wine, Top Ten Wine Regions, Top Ten US Wine Regions,

Enjoy!

Top Ten American Wine Regions

Top Ten American Wine Regions

W6T10P18

  1. Sonoma County, California
    GA3A8C1A7A11A7D6A3R12A7A10
    Although many associate premium California wines with Napa, Sonoma County is currently becoming a major wine destination in the world. Starting in 1812, Russian colonists planted grapes at Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. In 1823, Spanish Franciscan Father Altamira planted thousands of vines in Sonoma.  When the missions were taken over by the Mexican government in 1834, cuttings from Sonoma Mission vineyards were transported and planted throughout northern California. Today Sonoma County has 15 distinct AVAs with more than 250 wineries and 50 grape varieties including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, and the sought after Russian River, Carneros and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. It is estimated that the wine industry and related tourism contributes over $8 billion to the local economy each year, about 40% of the county’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Wine seekers love the laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere of many of the wineries.  The largest judging of American wines in the world, The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, is held yearly in Sonoma County’s quaint town of Cloverdale. In 2013, the event had over 5,500 entries from most of the wine regions represented in the United States.
    Links: Top Ten Sonoma County AppelationsTop Ten Sonom County WineriesTop 100 Sonoma County Wines, http://sonoma.com/wineries/alphalistings.html,
  2. Napa Valley, California

    The Napa Valley is the most well known wine region in the US with more than 450 wineries producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot and zinfandel. Commercial wine production in the region dates back to the 19th century. John Patchett established the Napa Valley’s first commercial vineyard in 1858 although Charles Krug is commonly cited as establishing the area’s first winery in 1861. Inglenook Winery in 1879 was the first Bordeaux style winery in the USA winning gold medals at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. By the end of the 19th century there were more than 140 wineries in the area. Of those original wineries, several still exist in the valley today including Beaulieu, Beringer, Charles Krug, Chateau Montelena, Far Niente, Mayacamas, Markham Vineyards and Schramsberg Vineyards. Viticulture in Napa suffered several setbacks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including an outbreak of the vine disease phylloxera, Prohibition and the Great Depession. The modern era of winemaking in California began when Beaulieu hired André Tchelisticheff in 1938. He introduced key ideas which included aging wine in small French Oak barrels, cold fermentation, vineyard frost prevention, and malolactic fermentation. The wine industry in Napa Valley was cemented with the help of the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, establishing this region as a producer of quality wine equal to that of Old World wine regions. Within the Napa Valley AVA, there are sixteen sub-AVAs, Los Carneros, Howell Mountain, Wild Horse Valley, Stags Leap District, Mt. Veeder, Atlas Peak, Spring Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Chiles Valley, Yountville, Diamond Mountain, Oak Knoll, Calistoga, and Coombsville.
    Links: http://napavalley.com/wineries/alphalistings.html,
  3. Willamette Valley, Oregon
    Sunrise over Willamette Valley, ORW2W6W15W13W11W9Row of wine glasses on barrel in winery cellarW10W14
    The Willamette Valley is located between Oregon’s Coast Range and the Cascades. Most of the wine grapes grown here come from vineyards located on bench-land hillsides in the western portion of the Valley. The three million acres of vineyards are divided into six- sub AVAs: ChehalemMountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton. A cool climate, rainy winters and long daylight hours during growing season are ideal for growing pinots, both pinot gris and pinot noir. Some of the 400 wineries in this region also produce some Chardonnay, Rielsing, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot. Berry farms and hazelnut and grass seed fields are also found in the valley, as are pine farms where Christmas trees are grown. To the north of this region is the city of Portland, an attractive, ecofriendly tourist destination.
    Links:  http://willamettewines.com/wineries/,
  4. Finger Lakes, New York
    CC1C2C3C4C5C6C9C10C11
    The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York supplies 90% of the wine produced in the state. The Pleasant Valley Wine Company is the region’s oldest winery and has been winning awards across the world since 1867.  The area has nearly 100 independent wineries with more than 11,000 acres of vineyard mainly around Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, two of the more prominent eleven Finger Lakes. The main varietals include Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer. The beautiful hills, rivers and lakes here are also a draw for nature lovers exploring the regional network of trails after they’ve had their fill of wine tastings and vineyard viewing. This area is ideal for people traveling from East Coast cities such as Boston, Pittsburgh and New York City. The annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival is held each July. With a focus on sustainable growing practices, this area is producing high quality wines and is fast becoming one of the up-and-coming wine-producing regions in the U.S.
    Links: http://www.fingerlakes.com/wine,
  5. Long Island, New York
    LL2L3L9L10L4L5
    Just two hours from Manhattan, the North and South Forks of Long Island extend 120 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Located here are the two winemaking regions, the North Fork and the Hamptons.  The first commercially grown grapes on Long Island were planted in 1973 by optimistic Harvard graduates Louisa and Alex Hargrave. Most vineyards are located at the East End in the counties of Nassau and Suffolk with over 50 unique wineries. The North Fork comprises approximately 3,000 acres of vineyards with about 40 wineries which produce wines from twenty different varietals. The Hamptons are notably cooler than the North Fork due to fog and ocean breezes; four wineries are located here. In little over a quarter of a century, the Long Island wine industry has grown from one small vineyard to 3,000 acres of vines and over fifty producers of world-class wines.  Family-owned farms, artisanal food producers and small-production winemakers coexist among Hamptonites, sharing the wealth of the region’s many gifts.   With similarities in maritime climate and northerly latitude with Bordeaux, Long Island  primarily grows outstanding Merlot. In recent years, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc have been added to the list. Some top producers are Paumanok Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse, Lenz, Bedell and Sparkling Pointe all located on the North Fork. The South Fork is home to only three wineries, but they are equally impressive.
    Links:
  6. Temecula Valley, California
    TT1T3T6T10T13T9T11T12
    The TemeculaValley is a small, rural wine region in southern California with a climate similar to that of Spain and southern Italy. The region is one hour northeast of San Diego located in Riverside County. Over 200 years ago, winemaking began in California at Mission San Juan Capistrano 50 miles west of Temecula. The first modern commercial vineyards in Temecula Valley were established in 1968. There are over 40 wineries here. In addition to growing Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, varietals such as Viognier, Syrah and Pinot Gris have recently been added. In addition, Temecula Valley’s hotter climate is particularly well-suited to grapes such as the Rhone varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Annual Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival occurs in late spring.
    Links: http://www.temeculawines.org/,
  7. The Sierra Foothills, California
    FF1F2F5F4F3F7F6F8F9F10F11F12F13F14
    Grapes were introduced to the area in the 19th century during the California Gold Rush in the 1850’s in the Shenandoah Valley in Amador County. The Sierra Foothills AVA, recognized in 1987,  includes eight California counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne and Yuba. The total area of the appellation is 2,600,000 acres, with nearly 6,000 acres of grapevines, one of the largest AVAs in the state of California. The most common grape variety is Zinfandel, but you will also find Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Barbera, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. There are over 100 wineries located within the Sierra Foothills AVA.
    Links: 
    http://www.calwineries.com/explore/regions/sierra-foothills,
  8. Washington State, Columbia, Yakima, Walla Walla and Horse Heaven Hills
    Winter Lights of SeattleW1W2W3W4W5W6W7W8W9W14W15
    Located on the same latitude as Burgundy and Bordeaux southern France, the Columbia valley is located about three hours from Washington’s largest city, Seattle. The valley lies in a rain shadow caused by the cascades creating a dry, continental climate.  Forty thousand acres of vineyards are planted here.  Within the ColumbiaValley is the Yakima Valley, Washington’s first AVA established in 1983. Forty percent of Washington state’s yearly wine production comes from the 12,000 acres of vineyards in the Yakima region. The most common grape varietals are Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. In addition to grapes, the Yakima Valley is  home to several fruit orchards growing apples, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, and plums. The area also grows nearly 80% of the U.S. hop production. There are more than 80 wineries in this area, making it a great choice for people who want to explore the winemaking industry in a rural setting. The Catch the Crush harvest festival occurs each October; wineries open their doors to music, grape-stomping and unique tasting events. An even more rural grape-growing area can be found in the Walla Walla Valley, a relatively dry region tucked in the southeast corner, where some of the West Coast’s best red wines are produced. Horse Heaven Hills is part of the much larger Columbia Valley and produces 25 percent of Washington State’s wine. It’s situated in between the Yakima Valley and the Columbia River. Horse Heaven Hills produced Washington’s first 100-point wines, as deemed by The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker, the 2002 and 2003 Quilceda Creek Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon.
    Links: WashingtonWineCountry.org, WineYakimaValley.org,
  9. Paso Robles, California
    AA1A2A6A7A8A9A13A4A5A11A10A12P18
    Paso Robles meaning Pass of the Oaks is located in the coastal mountain range of central California. In the County of San Luis Obispo wine grapes were introduced in 1797 by the Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionary padres of the Mission San Miguel where wine making artifacts can still be seen. There are over 180 wineries with 26,000 acres of vineyards in this region. Commercial winemaking was introduced to the Paso Robles region in 1882. The Paso Robles wine region gained notoriety when Ignace Paderewski, a famous Polish statesman and concert pianist, visited Paso Robles, became enchanted with the area, and purchased 2,000 acres. In the early 1920s, he planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard that went on to become award-winners solidifying Paso Robles as a premier wine region. Now, in addition to the first plantings of the Rhône varietal Syrah in California, Paso Robles also has the largest acreage of Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne.  Some of the other 40 varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and old vine Zinfandel.
    Links: Sculptures, www.pasowine.com/wineries/,
  10. Texas Hill Country
    AMinolta DSCA2A3A4A5T3T7T10T11
    The wide-open spaces, forested hills and rugged landscapes of Texas Hill Country are attractive to anyone with a love of nature and an appreciation of uncrowded rural landscapes. Approved in 1991, it is the 2nd largest AVA in the U.S. covering 15,000 square miles. North of San Antonio and west of Austin, more than 30 wineries can be found in this region of the Lone Star State pouring mainly zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with lesser amounts of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. The historic town of Fredricksburg is the starting point for a vineyard tour that follows U.S. Highway 290 and includes a dozen quality wineries. The Austin Wine and Music Festival is usually held in April.  In all, the state of Texas currently has eight approved AVAs.
    Links: TexasWineTrail.com,
  11. Grand Valley, Colorado
    AA1A2A3A4A5A6A7A8A9A10A11A12
    The western slope of the Rockies has an ideal climate for growing certain grape varietals that produce quality wines. The vineyards are located around the towns of Palisade and Grand Junction along the Colorado River. Some wineries also grow peach and cherries. Many wineries make fruit wines using local stone fruit in addition to traditional grape vintages. More than 85% percent of Colorado’s premium wine grape vineyards are located in this area. Grape varietals include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Wines produced from these grapes are winning major national and international awards for their quality. Colorado is home to over 80 wineries. The Colorado Mountain Winefest is held in Palisade every September.
    Links: http://www.grandvalleywine.com/,
  12. Loudon County, Virginia
    CC1C2C3C4C5C6C7C8C9C10C11
    Loudon County, a winemaking region that sits just outside of Washington, D.C., has flourished in the past few decades. With the onset of wine making in the 1600’s at Jamestown Colony, wineries in this region today are situated amid some famous historic sites.  Despite its location near one of the world’s most important cities, this area has a very rural flavor. There are over 30 wineries in Loudon County with an overall 200 wineries in the state of Virginia. The main varietals include Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chamourcin, Merlot, and a native Virginia red varietal called Norton. Central Virginia also produces wine particularly in the Monticello AVA. This is the region where Thomas Jefferson grew grapes on his estate in the 1770’s before the Revolutionary War began. Wine Enthusiast magazine recently named Virginia one of its top 10 wine travel destinations for 2012.
    Links: http://www.virginiawine.org/,
  13. Links: Wine, Top Ten Wine Regions,

Enjoy!

American (USA) Wines

American Wines