Legally, the "American" appellation implies that the grapes used to make the wine comes from the United States of America. In actuality, this labeling is used for wines which source grapes or grape products for winemaking from multiple states, as wine made from at least 75% grapes originating in just one state would be eligible to use that state's AVA on their label.

There are currently over 200 American Viticultural Areas (AVA) registered in the United States. Most of these are limited to a single state (there are more than 140 in California alone), while there are some that encompass sections of two or more states; the Snake River Valley AVA, located in Idaho and Oregon is an example. There is also an American AVA, which, quite naturally covers the entire country. This is not often used, but there are specific regulations, such as a minimum of 75% of the wine in the bottle must be from America (there are wines produced today that are blends of wine from more than one country) and it must conform with appellation regulations covering the composition and method of production. (Wine/Appellations)