USA wine

Beyond California

Whenever you think of wine from the US, generally it’s California which springs to mind.  Statistically, it’s no wonder, when it produces around 90% of the wine that comes out of the States.

California is not all the US has to offer though, as there are a small number of states that are slowly increasing, and honing, their production too.

Here’s my guide to USA wine, outside of California:


Lying directly north of California, backing onto the Pacific, it is the land of Pinot. Both Pinot Gris, and particularly Pinot Noir, thrive in the Willamette Valley which stretches south of Portland.

Although Pinot Noir can be a very difficult grape to grow, the cool, Mediterranean climate of Oregon suits it to a tee.

In fact, outside of Burgundy, the Pinot Noir which comes out of Oregon is famed to be some of the best in the world – with prices to match! Its reputation has been solidified by many famous Burgundian producers investing in vineyards there.

Try: Cristom Mt Jefferson Pinot Noir 2010 Willamette Valley (£30, Majestic)
With: A juicy duck breast

Washington State

Not to be confused with D.C. which sits on the east coast, Washington state sits wedged between Oregon and Canada. The main area which is noted for its wine production is the Columbia Valley.

This sits inland, protected from the notorious rain that affects coastal regions by the Cascade mountains. So many great wines are coming out of here, to name a few: Bordeaux style blends, Syrah, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

Try: Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Columbia Valley, 2013 (£17.24, Vinoteca)
With: Buttermilk fried chicken and spicy slaw

New York State

The land surrounding the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, is becoming increasingly recognised for quality wine production.

Although you may think it’s a little too chilly for grapes to grow, as it borders Canada, in reality the lakes provide the perfect microclimate for viticulture

Riesling thrives here, and unlike the often sweeter examples that are found around the world, here the Riesling tends to be quite dry and refreshing.

Try: to find it in the UK!

It’s rather difficult feat I have to admit. If anyone has ever come across any, then do let me know! I think your local independent wine merchant will probably be your best bet.