South Dakota is a state in the northern United States, bordered by Montana to the west and Minnesota to the east. Despite the challenges of the state's harsh, unpredictable continental climate, there is a growing wine industry in South Dakota, producing wines from Franco-American hybrid grape varieties specifically created to withstand cold. Frontenac, Concord, Saint-Croix and Valiant are the most important grape varieties planted.
The state covers just over 77,000 square miles (200,000 sq km) and stretches between the latitudes of 42°N and 45°N. South Dakota shares these latitudes with some of the most famous wine-producing areas in the world, including Bordeaux and Italy's Tuscany region, but other climatic factors come into play in this landlocked state. Dry summers and Arctic winds in winter are not well suited to viticulture, and during the growing season, hailstorms and frost are a constant danger for growers. Most Vitis species cannot survive in these conditions, with the notable exception of Vitis riparia. (© Proprietary Content, Wine-Searcher.)
Despite the harsh Midwestern climate, viticulture in South Dakota dates back as far as the mid-1800s, when early settlers established vineyards in the Black Hills region of the state (home to the famous Mount Rushmore monument). Now, the state is home to a small handful of wineries, mostly clustered around the city of Sioux Falls and in the Black Hills. The industry has been growing steadily since the passing of the Farm Winery Act in 1996, relying mostly on custom from locals and out-of-state tourists.
As most of the state is covered with other kinds of agriculture, such as corn and soybeans, vineyards tend to be on the smaller side; the largest cover only around 25 acres (10ha). At present, there are no American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in South Dakota, save for the state-level appellation.