After California, New York is the second-largest producer of wine in the U.S. It's home to 4 wine growing regions and 8 different appellations. Each of New York's wine regions has a distinct climate and is known for a particular style of New York wine.
The eastern end of Long Island is known for its North Fork appellation, which produces Bordeaux-style reds. Weather here is affected by the Peconic Bay, Long Island Sound, and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. These Gulf Stream-influences moderate the temperature and create a maritime climate and long growing season.
New York's Finger Lakes region is sometimes (unfairly) compared to Germany's Rhine. This area experiences short growing seasons and downright frigid winters, but the deep, narrow lakes provide enough of a moderating effect to keep the industry intact. The region's steep hillsides provide good sun exposure and, almost as important, excellent drainage to help ward off frost. Needless to say, cool-climate varieties have fared best, particularly Riesling. The Finger Lakes also produce a number of sparkling and ice wines.
The Hudson River region is home to the country's oldest continually running winery, Brotherhood Winery, which was founded in the 1830s. The Hudson River's north-south direction helps draw moist ocean breezes into the river valley and thus moderate the potentially harsh growing conditions (which range from excessive heat to extreme cold). In recent years, New York wine producers and grape growers have begun finding success with hearty clones of Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc.