Number 1: California
No surprise here. With nearly a billion gallons of wine produced in the United States, California is responsible for 85% of that production. In fact, if California was compared to every wine producing country in the world, it would rank 4th. California would only be behind Italy, France and Spain and ahead of iconic countries such as Australia, Germany, Chile, Portugal, and South Africa. When people think of California wines, they think of Napa Valley, but Paso Robles is the largest AVA in the state.
Number 2: Washington
Washington is a distant number 2 at about 1/20th of California's production but still #2! Washington State's production has grown steadily over the decades. Riesling and Chardonnay's popularity in the 1970's put it on the map. In the 1980's it was Merlot that gained traction. Then in the 1990's it was Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah pushing the production. Today, all major Bordeaux grapes are produced successfully along with Spanish varietals such as Tempranillo and Albariño. With apple orchards being replanted with grape vines, it is safe to say Washington's wine production will only go up.
Number 3: New York
West Coasters will scoff at the idea of New York producing quality wine, but quality as well as quantity has been steadily increasing since 1860 when Pleasant Valley Wine Company became the first bonded winery in America. Nowadays it is the Finger Lakes AVA that is the driving force behind New York's wine industry. Although becoming more diverse, Finger Lakes is noted for its production of historically German varietals such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
Number 4: Oregon
When people think of Oregon's wine industry most think of Pinot Noir. It's a difficult grape to cultivate but the ideal conditions can be found all around Oregon and especially in Oregon's famous Willamette Valley AVA. Along with Pinot Noir, Oregon produces a lot of the wines most associated with France's Burgundy region such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Because of its fickleness in wine production Oregon Pinot Noirs are commonly priced in the $40 range and up. Another cost increasing factor is Oregon's huge commitment with using sustainable practices and organic farming. Nearly everybody thinks this is well worth the added cost.
Number 5: Texas
Sneaking up on Oregon is the shocker of the list: Texas. Texans like to boast so you may hear them brag that they are responsible for the first planted vineyard in North America. That vineyard was planted in 1662 - yes, over 350 years ago! It's a huge state with a diverse geography but its climate most closely resembles Spain and Italy in regards to heat so it is no surprise notable Spanish and Italian grapes do really well there. Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Primitivo and the king of grapes Cabernet Sauvignon dominate Texas' red wine production. Texas Hill Country is the largest AVA in the state and most crucial to Texas' wine industry.