This list of wine-producing regions lists the significant growing regions where vineyards are planted. Wine grapes mainly grow between 30 and 50 degrees latitude, both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Grapes sometimes grow beyond this range, so small quantities of wine are produced in some unexpected places. The first grape vineyards planted in the Pacific Northwest were in what is now the state of Idaho.
Most of Idaho's wineries are located in the Snake River Valley. Idaho is known for its cold-climate white wines, but it has also focused more on red wines in recent years. Chapelle Winery, located in Caldwell, made our list of the 101 best wineries in the United States. Poor relative elevation can significantly reduce the quality of an otherwise good site; such is the case for vineyards located within valleys.
While the vineyard may be within the acceptable absolute elevation range, due to its location at the lowest point at a good elevation, it may be prone to spring and autumn frosts. It is best if the vineyard is at an elevation known as a “heat belt”. The thermal belt is an area of mountainside where frost or freezing temperatures are less likely to occur than at higher or lower elevations. German wine production dates back to Roman times, with many historic vineyards located along the Rhine River.
Most of Germany's wine production is based on white wine because white grapes tend to thrive in colder climates. Try sweet white wines and dry white wines such as the famous Riesling, which are also known to be very acidic. In recent decades, red grapes have been introduced to vineyards across the country as interest in producing and consuming red wines increases. The stereotypical vineyard site for wine grapes (in the Northern Hemisphere) is a hillside in a dry climate with southern exposure, good drainage to reduce unnecessary water absorption, and balanced pruning to force the vine to put more energy into the fruit, rather than the foliage.
No two vineyards have exactly the same terroir, although any difference in the resulting wine can be virtually undetectable. Vineyards are often characterized by their terroir, a French term that is loosely translated as a sense of place that refers to the specific geographical and geological characteristics of vine plantations, which can be imparted to the wine itself. The first vineyards were planted in the Rio Grande Valley in 1629 by a Franciscan friar and a Capuchin monk. Pennsylvania's first vineyard was planted in 1683, and it was actually near Philadelphia that the Alexander grape, a type of grape from which the first commercial American wines were made, was discovered in 1740.
Vineyards with southern aspects (for the Northern Hemisphere) warm earlier in the spring and vines may sprout earlier than vineyards with northern aspects. The Missouri wine corridor is sometimes referred to as “Missouri, Rhineland,” due to the fact that it was German immigrants who established the first vineyards and wineries there in the early 19th century. For this reason, some of the best wines come from vineyards planted on fairly steep hills, conditions that would make most agricultural products uneconomical. I just gave you some very technical information, my suggestion is that the next time you are in a winery with an assistant vineyard, take into account some of these factors and evaluate the site.
The number of New World vineyard plantations has increased almost as fast as the uprooting of European vineyards. Europe's 1.6 million vineyards average 0.2 km2 (49 acres) each, while the average Australian vineyard is 0.5 km2 (120 acres), providing considerable economies of scale. There are more than 500 grape varieties planted in Italy's vineyards, and red and white wines are produced. James Arthur Vineyards, located just north of Lincoln, is Nebraska's largest winery and has won multiple awards for their Edelweiss blends.