Alaska is the largest state in the USA, situated northwest of Canada on a peninsula that extends toward Russia. The arctic climate in the state is far too cold for reliable viticulture, and most Alaskan wines are made from fruits such as rhubarb and salmonberries, honey in the form of mead, or grape juice imported from other parts of the world. Despite being the largest state in the USA, covering almost 665,000 square miles (1,720,000 sq km), it has a very small number of wineries and is better known as a source of beer and vodka.
Alaska extends between latitudes 55°N and 70°N, from the edge of the Pacific Ocean in the south to the Arctic Sea, which lies along Alaska's northern coast. These latitudes – a similar distance from the Equator as the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden – are not associated with viticulture. Alaska is no exception to this as the only grapes that are grown successfully here are cultivated in greenhouses.
The climate in Alaska ranges from oceanic along the south coast and the southern 'Panhandle' to continental in the heavily forested interior of the state and to arctic on the northern shores. Because terroir is not a consideration in Alaska, wineries are free to place themselves where there is a market for their wares, and most wine production takes place in the south, around the city of Anchorage and on Kodiak Island.
Some commentators have suggested that climate change could one day make Alaska suitable for viticulture, particularly along the southern coast where the temperature-moderating effects of the Pacific Ocean could lengthen the growing season. Whether this happens remains to be seen as at present, there are no wines made from grapes grown in Alaska in a traditional vineyard.