The Empire State is the 2nd largest producer of wine in the U.S., boasting 4 wine-growing regions and 8 AVAs. New York is also one of America’s oldest commercial wine states, with a wine history dating to the 1860s. Today, vineyards are found in nearly half of its counties. New York’s wine regions reach from the shores of Lake Erie to the tip of Long Island, encompassing a wide range of terrain, climate and wine styles. Much of this production is still from native American labrusca varieties like Concord and Niagara, grown primarily for kosher wines. The balance is split between wines made from French-American hybrids, and an ever-expanding catalogue of classic vinifera varieties. The largest actual vineyard area is the Lake Erie District AVA, which extends into Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Since Thomas Jefferson first tried to cultivate European vinifera in Virginia, the state has been a decided piece of American wine country. Over the years better knowledge, equipment and materials have all contributed to an advancing wine industry, but the more recent decade or two has brought out the real potential that can be found.
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