The Best US Wine Regions - THEGRAPE

Wine Wednesday: Best US Wine Regions To Keep An Eye On

This Week In Wine 101: The Best Up & Coming Wine Regions

What are the newest types of wine? What are some up and coming wine regions to look out for in the United States and what “new” types of wines can I expect to see more of? The world of wine is incredibly vast and while there really aren’t “new” types of wines, for centuries there have been hundreds of diverse wine grape varietals available for our enjoyment. So, what (if anything) is new with wine?

Well, there have been a number of developments sweeping the nation! New vineyards & wineries are popping up all across the United States; from the west coast to the east; from the north to the south; even stretching as far as Hawaii and Alaska. However, only a handful of states have gained the undivided attention of respected wine critics and engaged wine enthusiasts from around the world.

In the past, the best US wine regions were the big four: California, Oregon, New York and Washington, and they were by far and away the leading states for producing delicious, fine wines. And while this hasn’t changed, the fact is, the “big four wine regions” are no longer the only states producing sought-after, fine wines.

You can now expect to taste great wines coming out of: Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. That’s right, there are a number of new styles or types of wine coming from these states, and yes, they’re delicious! But fear not, this doesn’t mean we’ll see less of the usual suspects, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or other famed varietals. On the contrary, wine enthusiasts can now expect to see different variations of these great varietals, unique hybrids and blends, as well as other grapes indigenous to America. Let’s take a closer look at the states that are receiving more recognition for their delicious wines.

 

Illinois

The Illinois wine industry is blossoming and booming with voraciousness. With over 400 vineyards and 90 + wineries the state of Illinois is consistently producing some of the best wines in the country. Today, the state cultivates a mixture of hybrid wine grapes such as, Chardonel, Norton/Cynthiana, Seyval, Vidal Blanc and Vignoles. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Alto Vineyards  |  Fox Valley Winery  |  Hickory Ridge Vineyard  |  Lynfred Winery  |  Owl Creek Vineyard  |  Vahling Vineyards

 

Michigan 

The wineries and vineyards, which border Lake Michigan, are impacted by the coastal location where they reside. Because they’ve grown more comfortable with the terroir, Michigan vintners have begun to look for other prime locations within the state where wine production can be prosperous. Currently the state produces Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Vidal Blanc. It is said the Riesling varietal thrives in the state of Michigan and has become quite popular. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Chateau Grand Traverse  |  Chateau Fontaine  |  Chateau de Leelanau  |  Tabor Hill Restaurant & Winery  |  Bel Lago Vineyard & Winery

 

Missouri

Back in the day Missouri was the second largest producer of wine but today it is the 9th largest producer of wine in the United States. The main grape of Missouri is the Norton varietal, which is also known as Cynthiana. In fact, the Norton/Cynthiana grape was the first wine grape varietal that originated in America, not Zinfandel. Aromas and flavors are said to have balanced characteristics. Other varietals to look for are: Chardonel, Concord, Traminette, Vidal Blanc and Vignoles. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Stone Hill Winery  |  Augusta Winery  |  Chaumette Winery & Vineyards  |  Montelle Winery  |  St. James Winery

 

North Carolina

North Carolina has a long history with wine. In the early 16th century, French explorer Giovanni de Verrazano discovered the Scuppernong grape varietal in the Cape Fear River Valley. But today, a number of North Carolina of wineries aim to produce European-style wines, with the heart of North Carolina. Varietals to try from N.C. wine regions are, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Suppernong. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Duplin Winery  |  Biltmore Estate Winery  |  Ragapple Lassie Vineyards  |  Shelton Vineyards

 

Ohio

Most of the wines in Ohio are fixed in the states Lake Erie region. Originally, the state cultivated grapes that were indigenous to America and used to be known for their Catawba sparkling wine. However, today the state produces varietals such as, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris/Grigio and Riesling, and blends a mixture of hybrid grapes. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Meier’s Wine Cellars  | Ferrante Winery  |  Harpersfield Vineyard  |  Valley Vineyards  |  Kinkead Ridge Vineyard & Winery

 

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is known as a “controlled state,” which means all of the wines purchased and sold are done so by the state. In other words, you’ll most likely have to travel to. The wines produced in Pennsylvania come from Native American grapes like, Concord, Catawba, and Niagara. Other varietals grown in the state are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval Blanc and Vidal Blanc. More recently, the state has really raised the level of standards for producing fine wines with the ability to age for several plus years. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Allegro Winery & Vineyards  |  Arrowhead Wine Cellars  |  Blue Mountain Winery  |  J. Maki Winery  |  Manatawny Creek Winery

 

Texas

You might be surprised to learn, despite the rugged terrain and varying climate, the Lone Star state produces some of the countries most delicious wines. And while few could blame you for your concerns regarding the climate and terroir Texas has proved to be more than equipped to handle the cultivation of wine and is known to produce very nice Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and dessert wines. But that’s not all you can expect to see from this mighty state. Expect to see more Merlot, Malbec and Viognier. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Llano Estacado Winery  |  Alamosa Wine Cellars  |  Lost Creek Vineyard  |  Fall Creek Vineyards  |  Spicewood Vineyards

 

Virginia

The state of Virginia has been producing wine since the 17th century, which is why they’re no strangers to the cultivation of some of the country’s best wines. Today the state produces a number of varietals and blends with a Virginia state flair. The majority of grapes grown in Virginia’s wine regions are: Chardonnay, Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Norton, Petit Verdot, Vidal Bland and Viognier, which many wine enthusiasts argue is the states most excellent wine. Here is a list of great wineries to check out:

Amrhein Wine Cellars  |  Barboursville Vineyards  |  Boxwood Winery & Tasting Room  |  Chateau Morissette Winery & Restaurant  |  King Family Vineyards  |  Trump Winery

 

As time progresses we’ll see more and more interesting wine varietals pop up in each region of the United States. Hopefully, as Americans grow thirsty for more, wanting to explore wine varietals they’re unfamiliar with, this will inspire winemakers to push the envelope creating new varietals and blends they can craft into fine wine to call their own. At thegrape.com we’re as excited as anyone to learn about and try these new variations on old favorites, as well as the lesser-known grape varietals that are on the rise. If you’ve had the opportunity to taste any of these delicious wine varietals, we’d love to hear about your experience with them. Drop us a line at www.thegrape.com or on Facebook or Twitter. Cheers!

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