The United States has come a long way since its entry into the wine world more than 300 years ago. It is now the 4th largest wine producing region in the world, with nearly 3,000 vineyards spanning all 50 states. In the late 1970s, a government regulated appellation system was established to assure at least 85% of grapes would be grown within the specified AVA shown on the label. With a climate that ranges vastly from coast to coast, distinct grape varieties can thrive in various U.S. wine regions. California’s climate is ideal for producing rich, tannic and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah wines, such as in the warm Napa Wine region, while the cooler coastal areas of Sonoma allow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to excel. Just North of California lies the Pacific Northwest, which is comprised of Oregon and Washington. While Oregon has been producing some of the highest rated Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris wines, according to our United States wine ratings, Washington has become better known for their Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling wines, particularly those from the Columbia Valley. Most recently, New York State wineries have had success with growing and producing wine from such grape varieties as Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The scenic Finger Lakes region has become quite the place to visit due in large part to its friendly tasting room environment as well as a recent increase in highly rated Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines found in our United States Wine Guide. With the number of vineyards on the rise in states such as Virginia, Idaho and New Jersey, the U.S. now offers an eclectic array of wine options.