On the northern east coast of the USA and in the north bordering Canada (province of Ontario), immigrants tried to cultivate vines as early as the beginning of the 17th century. But the native vines did not produce edible wines due to the intrusive strawberry or foxton and European varieties were destroyed by phylloxera, although the cause was not clear at the time. Some 200 years later, a hybrid was created by a presumably natural cross between a native Vitis labrusca and a European Vitis vinifera. This was then the basis for many breeds, especially the famous Concord. In the Finger Lakes lake district, large areas were planted with this vine in particular, producing sweet wines and sparkling wines in which the Foxton was not so prominent.
At the beginning of the 1960s, French hybrids were planted and, with the appropriate rootstocks, European varieties that could be acclimatised in the rather harsh climate were also planted. An influential viticultural pioneer and advocate of Vitis vinifera varieties was the Russian-born Dr. Konstantin Frank (1897-1985), who worked at Cornell University. He founded the Vinifera Wine Cellars (Finger Lakes) winery and paved the way for the successful cultivation of European varieties, starting with Pinot Noir in New York State. The second largest US state in terms of population, New York State, with the capital Albany, is today the third largest US wine producer after California and Washington with 14,000 hectares of vineyards and 150 wineries. Classified as AVA are Cayuga Lake, Finger Lakes, Hudson River Region, Lake Erie (also in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania), Long Island, Niagara Escarpment, North Fork of Long Island (island), Seneca Lake and The Hamptons Long Island (island). On the shores of Lake Erie, there are about 8,000 hectares of vineyards, most of which produce grape juice and table grapes.
The climate is relatively cool, but the heat-retaining lakes have a mitigating effect. The extremely diverse range of grape varieties consists of many hybrids or American vines with mostly Vitis labrusca genes. These include the white varieties Aurore, Catawba, Cayuga White, Delaware, Dutchess, Elvira, Moore's Diamond, Niagara, Seyval Blanc and Vignoles, as well as the red varieties Baco Noir, Chancellor, Concord, Isabella, Ives, Rosette and Steuben. Important European varieties are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sémillon.
Well-known producers in the state of Ne York are Adair, Altamont, Amici, Anthony Nappa, Baldwin, Bashakill, Bedell, Benmarl, Brimstone Hill, Brotherhood America's Oldest Winery, Cascade Mountain, Clinton, Clovis Point, Croteaux, Demarest Hill, Duck Walk, El Paso, Hargrave, Hudson Chatham, Magnanini, Millbrook, Mountain View, Palaia, Palmer, Peconic Bay, Pindar, Prospero, Royal Kedem, Scarola, Shinn, T'jara, Warwick, Waters Crest, Whisper, Whitecliff and Wölffer. The producers in the Finger Lakes area are listed there.