Winemaking in the United States has increased dramatically in the past few decades, both in quantity and in quality. The U.S. is now the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, and is number one in consumption (take that, France). In just the past decade, the number of wineries in the U.S. nearly quadrupled from 2,000 to more than 7,000, and every state now makes wine — North Dakota started producing wine in 2007 — as surprising as that may seem. Jancis Robinson, renowned British wine critic and journalist, and Linda Murphy, California-based wine writer for many prominent wine publications, felt the time was ripe for a book celebrating American wine history and progress, and voilá, American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States was born.
The hardback book is packed full of descriptive maps and beautiful photos that make us want to hop on a plane and fly to the precipitous Sonoma Coast vineyards or Colorado’s Grand Valley vineyards that snuggle right up to the 2,000-foot red rock face of Mount Garfield. While some grape growing regions garner more attention than others, Robinson and Murphy cover all 50 states, from California to Michigan to Hawaii. Stories of immigrant families that started out making wine in bathtubs, unlikely wine regions that now produce some of the best wine in the country (hello Michigan riesling), and the fascinating cast of characters that run the business fill the book, and Murphy’s straightforward, reliable style coupled with Robinson’s expertise and wit make for a great read, whether you are flipping through it on a friend’s coffee table or are studying it like a textbook.
You can buy American Wine: The Ultimate Companion to the Wines and Wineries of the United States on Amazon, $33.