The Best Cheap Wine From Every State
Some form of wine is produced in every U.S. state. Because of different climates, some areas use sweeter native grapes like muscadine or chambourcin instead of European varieties like sauvignon blanc or merlot. Many states also produce wines using different fruits, like pineapple or cherry. In these places, it can be difficult to find traditional wines of good quality for $20 or less, and many of the best values are wines that use the sweeter native grapes and other fruits. Here's a look at one of the best cheap wines from each state.
(Editor's note: This story has been revised since publication.)
Alaska doesn't have much in the way of grape wines, but producers there do make wine from other fruits, including the haskap berry, also known as the honeyberry. The 100 percent Alaska-produced haskap wine from Alaska Berries is a unique and authentic taste of what the state has to offer.
Post Familie Vineyards in Altus is beloved by locals who recognize it as the premier winery in Arkansas. The wines range from dry to sweet and are made from American and European grape varieties. The cabernet sauvignon, described as velvety with aromas of plums and currants, is one of its most popular dry reds. (Note: Arkansas state law tightly restricts the shipping of wine. Contact the winery to inquire about prices and how to buy its wine.)
California is America's premier wine-producing state, and Bonny Doon wines represent some of the very best made there. While many of its wines are top-tier with prices to match, there are excellent value varieties, as well. A Proper Claret is a medium-bodied red full of spice and berry flavors.
Dessert wines are the stars of the Colorado scene. Sutcliffe Vineyards produces a handful of sweet wines along with its dry selections, and while most are top dollar, there is a cheaper option of similar quality. The Nectar Riesling is bright, tart, and sweet with a lip-smacking taste of melon and peach.
Jerram Winery is a premier producer in this Northeastern state, and it specializes in wines that blend different grapes for slightly sweet everyday wines. Jerram's Our Sweet Rose is a top choice for everyday drinkability and pairs well with everything from salads and poultry to spicy fusion cuisine.
Delaware wine producers focus primarily on native grape varieties that tend to be aromatic and often semi-sweet. Harvest Ridge Winery's Chambourcin is a benchmark example of this indigenous grape and the style of wine it makes, with dark fruit and spice flavors.
San Sebastian is one of the best-known winemakers in Florida. While the climate there makes it difficult to grow traditional European grapes, the winery is able to grow the muscadine grape. San Sebastian's Rosa is a blush wine that celebrates the natural fruitiness of this Southern grape.
Three Sisters Vineyards produces a whole range of wines, although nothing is quite as particular to the state as its Peachtree Dance. The peach-infused chardonnay is a crisp and fruity wine that offers a true taste of Georgia.
Indian Creek is a celebrated producer, making classic and experimental wines in a state with a decent climate for growing both European and American grape varieties. Its Star Garnet is a unique offering that blends merlot, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, and malbec, giving sweet hints of chocolate, black cherries, vanilla, and mocha.
The climate in Kansas makes it difficult to grow European grapes, but producers there have had success with hybrid grapes that offer elements of both European and American wine styles. The Seyval Blanc Dry from Prairie Fire Winery is aromatic, clean, and dry, similar to dry pinot gris or gewürztraminer.
Elk Creek is the premier winery in Kentucky, making both sweet and dry wines. Its red table wine is a blend of European grape varieties, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, along with petit syrah, offering classic dry red wine flavors of spice and dark berries and a firm structure.
Louisiana is home to a few wineries, of which Ponchartrain Vineyards is the most highly regarded. It has a wide offering of traditional and lesser-known grape varieties, a favorite being its Voo Doo Zin, which is full-bodied and spicy, with bold fruit flavors.
Maine is not known for its ability to grow wine grapes, so most wineries source grapes from other states for a majority of their production. To capture the flavor of Maine, Cellardoor infuses this specialty wine with wild Maine blueberries and maple syrup. It's an award-winning, fortified dessert wine with layers of complex flavor.
The climate and rich farmlands of Maryland make it one of the best-situated states on the East Coast for wine production. Big Cork Vineyards is one of the premier producers of classic and hybrid wine varieties. Its vidal blanc is a highly aromatic white wine with a touch of sweetness that makes it an ideal pairing for spicy foods.
Michigan has been an up-and-coming wine-producing state for the past decade or so and continues to show promise, especially with grapes that are more difficult to grow, such as pinot noir. Black Star Farms offers high value and quality in wines like its Arcturos Pinot Noir Rosé, which is dry, fruity, and floral.
Minnesota's climate brings very hot growing seasons and very cold winters, which only hardy grape varieties can survive. Cool-climate grapes like gewürztraminer do well, as seen in Chankaska Creek's version of that wine, which is rich and aromatic.
There aren't many wine producers in Mississippi, and the wines that sell the most are sweet wines. The Sweet Noble red wine from Old South Winery is juicy and rich, with pure fruit flavors that the winery says come from aging the wine in stainless steel tanks instead of wooden barrels.
Augusta Winery is one of the premier producers in Missouri, offering wines made from native grapes, hybrid grapes, and other fruits like blueberries and raspberries. Augusta's Estate Bottled Chambourcin is made in a dry style, with rich red fruit and a bold, spicy body.
While vineyards in Montana are capable of growing native and imported grape varieties, their specialty is cherries. Ten Spoon has a wide offering of wines, including Flathead Cherry Dry, which is smooth and full of dark fruit flavors for a unique taste of the terroir.
LaBelle Winery, one of New Hampshire's most-recognized producers, makes wines from traditional wine grapes as well as other local fruits. LaBelle's Dry Riesling is made in a style similar to the wines from the Alsace region on the French-German border, full of finesse and stone fruit aromatics.
Hopewell Valley Vineyards represents decades of Italian winemaking experience, making its wines a cut above the rest. Its barbera is made in a classic dry style with plenty of tart red fruit and brightness, perfect for pairing with red-sauce dishes.
The warmer temperatures of New Mexico allow grape growers to use an array of indigenous and imported varieties. Acequia Vineyards & Winery is one of the top-rated producers, offering hybrid, native, and European-grape-based wines. Acequia's chardonnay is ripe and full of golden fruit flavors, with a barely perceptible kiss of sweetness on the finish.
Wines from New York are starting to make waves in the national and international markets, and for good reason. The state's vast growing regions offer many styles of wine, although most tend to be pricey. Fox Run offers one of the best values with its Semi-Dry Riesling, which is perfectly balanced among flavorful, sweet, and tart.
The making of wine from fruit other than grapes is the main form of wine production in North Dakota, and Maple River Winery is the premier producer. Of all of Maple River's creative bottlings, its Aronia Wine is the most authentic, made in a relatively dry style from aronia berries, also called chokeberries, which are native to the United States.
Ohio's climate allows for the production of classic European varieties like chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. The Winery at Versailles produces a perennial favorite, pinot grigio, in a traditional dry style with plenty of crisp aromatics and freshness.
Put A Cork In It Winery is one of the most beloved in Oklahoma, where there are few wineries. It offers a range of dry and sweet bottles. The best value from this producer is the Bedlam Blush, a light, refreshing rosé made in a French style, with flavors of berries and cherries and a dry finish. (Note: Like Arkansas, Oklahoma has restrictive laws about shipping wine.)
Adelsheim Vineyard has been on the forefront of the wine scene in Oregon for a long time and has garnered attention all over the United States. Adelsheim excels in aromatic whites. Its pinot gris is made in a European style -- dry with plenty of floral and fruit flavors and a silky body.
Relatively well-suited for wine production, Pennsylvania is home to many grape varieties. Crossing Vineyards and Winery has won awards for its riesling, which is made in a semi-dry style with tart acidity and a gentle sweetness that enhances the ripe fruit flavors.
Island Winery is located on Hilton Head Island in the northeastern part of South Carolina, an ideal location for growing native grape varieties. Its Harvest White, made from estate-grown grapes, is a charming wine with a lot of fruitiness and a bit of sweetness.
Prairie Berry Winery in the Black Hills is beloved by locals and visitors alike for its wide array of offerings. Many of its dry, European-style wines are pricey, but its fruit wines and sweet wines are more affordable. Made from a family recipe, Great Grandma's Chokecherry Wine is a semi-dry cherry wine that represents decades of South Dakota tradition.
European varieties like cabernet sauvignon and merlot grow well in Utah, although there are just a handful of producers. Castle Creek Winery is one of the state's premier wineries offering dry wines, like its merlot, which is a rich red with a soft body and warm fruit flavors.
Virginia's wines are positioned to give California and New York a run for their money. One of the most technologically advanced wineries in the country, Chrysalis Vineyards offers a range of wines made from American and European grapes. One of the best values is the estate-bottled Norton, which is considered the primary native grape for making dry red wines.
Charles Smith Wines has become a well-known producer, both nationally and internationally. Its Kung Fu Girl Riesling is beloved for its fresh and crisp profile, offering tart and tangy fruit tones with a hint of sweetness that rounds out the flavors.
West Whitehill Winery consistently produces award-winning wines made from blending different grape varieties and sometimes other fruits. Its Raspberry Royale is the best-seller and recipient of multiple awards for its semi-sweet flavor full of aromatic grapes and sweet-tart raspberries.
Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac is well-known locally for its exceptional wines, as well as a line of spirits from its distillery. Wollersheim's pinot noir sports a low price for a high-quality, 100 percent pinot noir wine. It's light- to medium-bodied, with flavors of flowers and notes of French oak.
Table Mountain Vineyards grows all its own grapes and bottles all its wines on the estate. The Cowboy Reserve Red Table Wine is a dry and smoky red wine with a full body and spicy finish.