To the novice or uninitiated wine drinker, it may seem like fine wines are developed overseas in places like France and Italy. While there are many fine wines imported from regions in France, Italy, and other places, America’s wine industry is thriving. With more than 1 million acres of land used to cultivate grapes, the U.S. is the sixth largest grape-growing country in the world, behind only France, Italy, Spain, China and Turkey. With more than 1 million acres devoted to grape vines comes lots and lots of wine. Tasting all those American wines is probably impossible, but a good place to start is by purchasing discount wine online.
American wineries were steadily growing and producing wine as early as 1683, when William Penn planted a vineyard in the state named after him, Pennsylvania. A Franciscan missionary Junepero Serra established California’s first winery. Shortly thereafter the Kentucky General Assembly approved legislation creating a commercial winery, and the wine industry really picked up steam.
When Prohibition began to take hold in the states, things changed. Maine was the first state to go dry, prohibiting alcohol in 1846. The 18th Amendment, which prohibited the sale, transport, and manufacture of alcohol, was ratified in 1920. Home wine making became common, but America’s commercial wine-making industry hit a standstill. Some vineyards survived by producing grape juice and legal wines used for religious ceremonies.
When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the Great Depression put a damper on reviving the commercial wine industry. Fortunately, the industry has been roaring back to life in the states in recent years.
American wine is grown in six primary regions of the country. The majority of American wines are produced in the West Coast region. More than 90 percent of American wines are produced in California, Washington, and Oregon. The second largest wine producer in the world is a U.S. company, E & J Gallo.
There are wineries in all 50 states. Most of the wine produced in the Rocky Mountain region is made in Idaho and Colorado. In the Southwestern region, Texas and New Mexico are large producers. In the Midwest, Missouri and Indiana are major producers. Prior to Prohibition, Missouri was second only to California in grape growing and wine production. In the Great Lakes region, wineries in Michigan, northern New York, and Ohio are large producers of wine, while on the East Coast, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida make a lot of wine. In total, American wineries made more than 754 million gallons of wine in 2012, and experts anticipate continued growth in the future.
There may be far too many wine producers in the U.S. to try them all, but it’s never too late to start. Thanks to sellers of discount wine online, tasting and enjoying American wines has never been easier or less expensive.
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