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American-made wines to toast the Fourth of July

American-made wines to toast the Fourth of July

I always like to imagine what wine our Founding Fathers were toasting with just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A bubbly sparkling wine from California’s Carneros region? A light aromatic Oregon pinot gris or a robust full-bodied Napa Cabernet Sauvignon? Well, it was none of those. They were toasting with Madeira. I am all for a wonderful glass of this high-alcohol, full-bodied fortified wine around the Christmas tree but not on one of our state’s hottest days of the year.

The United States is home to more than 3,000 commercial vineyards with at least one winery in each of the 50 states. That is a lot of options for your celebratory toast. To narrow it down, I’ve focused this week’s recommendations on wines from California, Washington and Oregon, which make up over 90% of American wine production.

So, let’s raise a glass and toast our history and accomplishments with a few of these American-made bottles and celebrate our great country.


2018 Sean Minor 4 Bears Chardonnay, California (about $12)

2018 Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel, California (about $15)

2018 Lapis Luna Chardonnay, California (about $15)

2018 Underwood Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $13)

2018 Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $13)

2018 Acrobat Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $14)

2018 Prophecy Red Blend, Washington (about $14)

2018 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot, Washington (about $10)

2018 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, Washington (about $12)


2018 Bell Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Claret, California (about $45)

2018 Presqu’ile Santa Barbara Pinot Noir, California (about $22)

2018 Reynolds Family Persistence Red, California (about $54)

2018 A to Z Oregon Chardonnay, Oregon (about $19)

2018 Joel Gott Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $18)

2018 Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $37)

2018 Anne Amie Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $16)

2018 Elouan Oregon Rose, Oregon (about $23)

2018 Maison Noir Horseshoes & Handgrenades, Washington (about $19)

2018 Spoken Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington (about $22)

American wines worth celebrating

American wines worth celebrating

Happy Birthday America! There is no better way to celebrate than toasting with an American-made wine today.

Today, American wines rank among the best of the world. But it wasn’t always so.

For centuries fine wine was confined to prestigious European vineyards. Mentions of Bordeaux’s Cabernet Sauvignon or Burgundy’s Pinot Noir were found only in tasting notes or journals from noble families of royalty or those with enough wealth to travel across the Atlantic. These were the privileged few who could enjoy the sacred consumption of some of the world’s finest wines.

But in 1976, British wine merchant Steven Spurrier organized a unique blind tasting (the wines’ vineyards and producers were not revealed prior to tasting), known as The Judgment of Paris with California versus French wines. The judges were some of the most renowned wine critics with the world’s most elite palates. The outcome was an upset with two Napa Valley wines coming out on top: a 1973 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay.

I would have loved to have been in the crowd to see the look on the judges’ faces when these California wines were announced over some of the world’s most elite French vineyards.

For more about the tasting, read George Taber’s Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine. Taber, an American, was the only journalist attending the event.


  • 2016 Bogle Essential Red, California (about $14 retail)
  • 2016 Sterling Vineyards Napa Chardonnay, California (about $14 retail)


  • 2016 Honig Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $19 retail)
  • 2015 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $38 retail)
  • 2015 Bell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $55 retail)
  • 2014 Chateau Montelena Caberent Sauvignon, California (about $63 retail)
  • 2015 Reynolds Family Chardonnay, California (about $33 retail)