Pennsylvania is a state in the north-east of the US, covering 46,000 square miles (119,000 sq km) between Lake Erie and the Atlantic Coast. Pennsylvanian wines are made from various native grapes such as Delaware, Franco-American hybrids such as Chambourcin and Seyval Blanc and well-known vinifera varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
With around 14,000 acres (5665ha) under vine, Pennsylvania is one of the most prolific grape-growing states in the country, along with New York, Washington and Oregon (although none of these come close to rivaling the viticultural output of California, responsible for around 90% of US wine production). A large proportion of Pennsylvania's vineyards produce raisin and table grapes rather than wine grapes, so the state ranks only seventh in terms of wine production. This balance is now changing; where there were fewer than 30 wineries in the state in 1980, there are now more than 100.
Vineyards can be found across the whole state, from the traditional 'fruit belt' on the edges of Lake Erie in the north-west corner of Pennsylvania to the sheltered valleys provided by the Appalachian mountain chain in the south-east. Pennsylvania has five sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) within its boundaries, although it shares three of these (Central Delaware Valley, Lake Erie and Cumberland Valley) with neighboring states. Only Lancaster Valley and Lehigh Valley in the south-east of Pennsylvania lie entirely within its borders.
Pennsylvania has a moderate, maritime-influenced climate due to its position between bodies of water, and is officially categorized as 'humid continental' on the Koppen scale. This applies in essence to the whole state, except for the south-eastern corner, where Pennsylvania's border meets those of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland at the northern end of Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. Here, conditions are closer to the humid, subtropical climate experienced in the states to the south.
Like New Jersey immediately to the east, Pennsylvania has implemented a state-wide quality-assurance program. Any wine can be independently tested and judged by a panel of enologists; those which reach the established standard receive the state's seal of approval. This adds a level of wine-quality assurance to the existing AVA origin statements and brings the state one step closer to a fully fledged appellation system, such as that in France.