Pacific Rim
June 23, 2023 | wine | Pacific Rim

Where is the Best American Riesling Wine From?

Riesling is a very popular white wine in Europe, but slowly, its demand in North America is increasing. One of the reasons why American Riesling did not gain rapid popularity is because most people believed it was just another sweet wine from Germany, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is no question that some varieties of Riesling are sweet, but the wine is also available as semi-dry and dry. In fact, much of the Riesling produced in America is of the dry variety. Regardless of its type, Riesling is an excellent, refreshing, juicy wine that is versatile and pairs well with most foods.

summer vineyards


The Riesling grape was first introduced to North America in the late 19th century by new German immigrants. Initially, these immigrants settled in New York, which led to the production of Riesling in the Finger Lakes Region. With time, the immigrants moved to Michigan, California, Oregon, and Washington, where the Riesling grape now thrives. In fact, the Riesling produced in Washington State rivals the best quality Riesling from Germany, Austria, Australia, and South Africa.

The Diversity of American Riesling

While Washington remains the top producer of American Riesling, it’s also produced in Oregon and California. American Riesling can be dry or sweet or a bit of everything in between. For consumers, the way to tell what type of Riesling you are drinking is to note the amount of residual sugar as it is stated on the label. If the residual sugar level is less than 10g/l, the wine will be dry, but if the level of residual sugar is more than 30g/l, the Riesling will be sweet. Sometimes the label may not reveal the residual sugar level; instead, it may say dry, medium-dry, or sweet.

Washington: A Prominent Producer of Riesling

Even though Riesling had a late start in Washington, the region is known to produce some of the best Riesling in the world, often competing with Chardonnay for the best white wine in the USA. Much of the Riesling in Washington grows in the Columbia Valley, including Ancient Lakes, Yakima Valley, and Lake Chelan, which are well known for the fruity version. Elsewhere in the state, the dry Riesling has spicy and aromatic flavors with well-balanced acidity. The reason why Washington excels at producing great quality Riesling is not only because of the ideal climate but also a favorable landscape and soil conditions that allow the Riesling grape to thrive.

The Favorable Conditions of the Columbia Valley

In addition, the Columbia Valley is bestowed with long, dry summer days and cool nighttime temperatures, which permit the Riesling grapes to acquire a broad range of fruity flavors combined with exotic aromas and just the right balance of acidity. Another part of the country which also makes good quality Riesling is the Finger Lakes region, which also has climate and soil conditions similar to Washington.

Riesling in the Finger Lakes Region

In addition to the Pacific Northwest, the Finger Lakes regions are known to produce medium-dry to dry Riesling wines with delicate flavors and hints of peach, citrus, orange, and apricot with a mild tinge of aromatic spices. Because of the varying diversity in the

soil and landscape in America, this permits a broad range of wine styles. Overall, the Riesling produced in America tends to be more refined, slightly more acidic, and more delicate compared to those produced in Europe.

Finally, American Riesling is very affordable and easy to drink. The only way to know if there is a Riesling for you is to purchase a bottle and let your taste buds make the decision.

Some Riesling Wines to Consider




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