Armed only with a vision and a belief in their talent, these 20 producers put it all on the line and came out on top. They overcame the steep odds small-batch wine outfits face—from the sheer economies of scale and surviving those first few years of waiting, hoping and praying what they barreled wasn’t a bust, to selling the stuff themselves on the web and often out of the trunks of their cars. There may be no tastier testament to our nation’s entrepreneurial and creative spirit. Bonus: These bottles—handpicked by our editors—will pair perfectly with your summer feasts.
Analemma 2010 Atavus Blanc de Noir (Columbia Gorge)
Crisp sparkling; citrus, floral and yeast notes.
Pair with Smoked Trout
Channing Daughters 2014 Rosato di Sculpture Garden (North Fork of L.I.)
Merlot field blend; fruity, bright.
Pair with Pesto Pasta Salad
Storm 2013 Presqu’ile Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)
Zesty, peppery and strawberry-kissed.
Pair with Panzanella Salad
The Withers 2014 Rosé (El Dorado)
A thirst-quenching dry style; raspberry and apple flavors.
Pair with Fish Tacos
RdV 2010 Lost Mountain (Virginia)
Rich, elegant Cab blend; dark fruit, firm tannins, bright acidity.
Pair with Lamb Sliders
Bodkin 2014 The Victor’s Spoils Sauvignon Blanc (Lake County)
Herbs and celery aromas, crisp citrus and melon flavors; electric acidity.
Pair with Grilled Bratwurst
Eight Bells 2011 8 Clones Syrah (Yakima Valley)
Made with 8 clones from Willow Vineyard; layered with blackberry, mint.
Pair with Olive & Mozzarella Salad
Unti Vineyards 2012 Cuvée Foudre (Dry Creek Valley)
Rhône-style red blend; pepper, blackberry and black licorice flavors.
Pair with BBQ Ribs
Walla Walla Vintners 2013 Sangiovese (Columbia Valley)
Lush; cherry and cranberry flavors.
Pair with Wood-Fired Pizza
Stony Hill 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)
Earthy, full-bodied and restrained.
Pair with Tri-tip
Paix Sur Terre 2014 Kiler Grove Ugni Blanc (Paso Robles)
A study of chalky, citrusy freshness.
Pair with Arugula Salad
McGrail 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley)
Chocolate, espresso aromas; bold black-fruit flavors.
Pair with Salami & Gouda
Trujillo 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)
Fruit from several top vineyards make it rich, savory and balanced.
Pair with Grilled Porterhouse
McPherson 2014 Les Copains White (Texas)
Rhône-style white blend; refreshing, weighty with Texas-big tropical fruit tones.
Pair with Ceviche
Southold Farm + Cellar 2013 Damn the Torpedoes (North Fork of L.I.)
Sparkling red blend; blackberry flavors to spare.
Pair with Grilled Sirloin
David Coffaro 2013 Carignan (Dry Creek Valley)
Old-vine Carignan; fennel and black pepper accents.
Pair with Grilled Ahi Tuna
Hillcrest 2012 Pinot Noir (Umpqua Valley)
Big, unfiltered style, with ripe cherry, bacon and white pepper notes; bright acidity.
Pair with Deviled Eggs
Sutcliffe 2013 Signature Castillo Vineyard Chardonnay (Colorado)
Balanced, lively acidity, tropical fruit tones and subtle butteriness.
Pair with Lobster Roll
Scherrer 2012 Helfer Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)
Apple, pear and star fruit notes; restrained richness.
Pair with Fried Chicken
Maidenstoen 2013 Coast View Vineyard Riesling (Monterey)
A bone-dry Riesling with a rich honeysuckle core and lush acidity.
Pair with Pulled Pork Sandwich