The state of California is the hub of the US wine industry. It produces over 80% of the country’s wine and is a world-class centre for viticultural and wine production research.
The USA is the world’s fourth largest wine-producing country in the world and California on its own would still count as the fourth largest!
Oregon’s relatively mild climate is reflected in its fairly lightweight wines.
Oregon has famously produced very Burgundian Pinot Noir. The modern period of wine production in Oregon goes back to 1961 and the development of Pinot Noir. Early producers in Oregon had often moved north from California, believing that Oregon would be more suited to the styles of wine they wished to produce than California had proved to be.
The breakthrough for Oregon and Pinot Noir came in 1979, with the success of a 1975 Eyrie Vineyard Oregon Pinot Noir in a French-sponsored competition.
If Oregon is Burgundian in its wine offering, Washington State, now the second biggest V. vinifera wine producing state in the USA, is arguably more like Bordeaux, with an emphasis on Merlot in particular.
Washington State lies to the north of Oregon. It is divided into two by the high Cascade Mountains. The key vineyard area lies inland, to the east of the Cascades. The latitude lies somewhere between the latitudes of Bordeaux and Burgundy, and the continental climate gives good ripening.