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Understanding Wines from the United States

Jan 23, 2008
Many people are surprised to find out the truth about United States wines. Most assume that the best wines in the world are produced in France or areas of the Mediterranean, and while it's true that many people may prefer or know more about French wines, there are many varieties of wines from the United States that are just as good.

Probably the most famous area of wine production is Napa Valley, California, where some 90% of North American wines are produced. These vineyards were mostly started by Spaniards who planted as they established missions; most wines were used for religious sacraments but were also used during daily life. The vine cuttings they used were typically from Mexico and were brought to the U.S. in the early 1500's.

Today most grapes are of the French, Italian and Spanish varieties, which is why United States wines are on the same level quality-wise as these more commonly known French wines. Advances in planting and grape hybrid technology have made it possible for any region of the world to produce a wine of any variety and quality.

For many years the most popular types of wines were Bordeaux and Chardonnay, but in the 1980's many grew tired of this type of wine, especially as more and more varieties became readily available at wine and liquor stores everywhere. Suddenly vineyards producing Unites States wines began experimenting with different and more obscure varieties of grapes and grape hybrids. The warmer weather of California's Napa Valley also affects the taste of the wines, making them taste a bit fruitier than other brands of wines. It also allows for higher alcohol content during the fermentation process; most California wines are at 13.5% alcohol.

There are of course other areas of the country that produce very fine wines, including the Great Lakes regions around the state of Michigan, and the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado. These areas have very favorable weather and growing conditions for very fine wines.

United States wines are now so popular that many plan their entire vacations around wineries and wine tours. Planning tours of Napa Valley is so popular that many travel agents and tourism boards plan entire excursions for groups such as AARP and other travel clubs. The U.S. is actually the fourth largest wine producing country in the world, and there's good reason for that. While some may not think of United States wines as being of the same quality as French or Spanish wines, the truth is that they are of very high quality, variety, and vintage. If you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, you would do well to make sure you add these wines to your regular drinking experience.
About the Author
David Cowley has created numerous articles on Wines. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to wine information. Visit Wine Information
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