Today is National Wine Day (yes, yes, there are a myriad of wine holidays, but who are we to blow off at any day that gives us one more reason to uncork a bottle! Just wait ’til we get to National Drink Wine Day in February!).
And in honor of National Wine Day, we’re focusing on our very own great wine-making nation. Every state in our country — yes, every state! — is now making wine and what better day to celebrate (and drink) them all, than National Wine Day!
(As as aside: since it is a national holiday, shouldn’t we have the day off from work? Just saying.)
The U.S. leads world in wine consumption (we are very proud of that!) and accounts for 12% of the world’s wine production, according to WineAmerica, a lobbying organization for the wine industry.
We have are over 8,800 wineries, which is actually 6% more than last year, according to Wine and Vines Analytics.
Now no surprise, California houses just over half of them and produces 85% of our nation’s wine.
But states like Washington, Oregon, New York and Virginia are all next in line.
And there are over 50,000 people employed at these wineries that see about 30 million visits every year.
So start planning your road trip. Pick a state, find a winery.
You’ll be surprised. For instance, Michigan has 170 wineries. Colorado has 108. Even Nevada has 4. Who knew?!
Our country’s founding father and first wine connoisseur, Thomas Jefferson would be very proud. He tried to plant grapes on Monticello, his property in Virginia, back in the early 1800s, and it didn’t work out so great. He would be super-ecstatic at how far we’ve come today.
And have you ever heard of the Norton grape? It’s indigenous to our country. It originally was cultivated in Richmond, Virginia but now is much happier in the Midwest and is one of the most important wine grapes in Missouri, which actually has 143 wineries of its own.
So let’s start traveling our country. We recently highlighted Kentucky's wine industry and recommended a Pinot Noir from Oregon but we need to do more!
There are too many great wines out there to even dare to recommend, so we suggest you try them all!
But please let us know every time you have a great bottle from a state that is not yet known for its wine-making.
Cheers to America.
Tracy Byrnes, former FOX Business Network anchor and host of “Wine with Me” for Foxnews.com, is editor-in-chief and chief contributor of The Sip.