- noun a large country in north America, the world’s single superpower
- a wine-producing country that is the fourth-largest producer of wine in the world. Wine grapes were first planted in the United States in the 18th century by Spanish missionaries. In the middle of the 19th century, wine-producers began improving the quality of their wine by importing top-quality cuttings from Europe. The cuttings thrived in California, and by the end of the 19th century, the wines of Napa Valley were recognized for their outstanding quality. But then two disasters struck, devastating the US wine industry. The first was phylloxera and the second was Prohibition. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, but it was only in the 1960s that the industry began to recover. In 1966 Robert Mondavi along with Baron Philippe de Rothschild built the first new winery in Napa Valley and began producing some of California’s finest wines, inspiring others to follow. California still dominates US wine production in quantity (with over 90 per cent of the country’s production) and quality, but wine is made in all 50 states, notably in Washington, Oregon, and New York. Within the USA there are over 120 wine regions (AVAs) that work in a similar way to the French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée but with a strictly geographical emphasis and with far less stringent rules, controls and regulations. Most wines in the US are sold under the name of the winery and then the name of the main grape used to make the wine.