Wine has been made in the USA for over 300 years; today production is carried out in every state, and it is the fourth biggest producer in the world. The early colonists arrived to find an abundance of American vines: Vitis labrusca, Vitis riparia, Vitis rotundifolia, Vitis vulpina, and Vitis amurensis. However it quickly became evident that these vines were unsuitable for wine production, as they impart a pronounced 'foxy' character to the wines. However, these non-vinifera varieties were found to be immune to the destructive phylloxera louse (the aphid-like pest which feed on the roots eventually killing the vine) and therefore played a fundamental role in viticulture. European vines were grafted onto American rootstocks thus making them immune; without this adaptation European viticulture would not exist as it does today. Despite other impediments such as prohibition between 1918 and 1933, the wine industry in the USA continued to prosper, expanding and adapting to become what it is today. California is considered to be at the heart of production, accounting for 89% of all wine produced. At the University of California, Davis is one of the world's leading research centres. New techniques and technology are pioneered here, and the institute has produced a wealth of home-grown winemakers.
The huge variation in terroir and climate throughout the USA means that many varieties prosper here creating an abundance of fantastic styles. Some of the most prestigious styles include: Napa Valley Cabernets, Russian River Pinot Noirs, and Washington State Rieslings.