U.S. Wine Destinations Beyond Napa Valley
When you think of wine destinations in the U.S., Napa Valley probably comes to mind first. But there are many beautiful wine regions scattered across the country, producing award-winning regional vino — and you likely live just a short drive or train ride away from one. Here are five areas worth exploring for a wine-filled getaway.
Finger Lakes, New York
Known for producing Riesling, Pinot Noir, and regional grapes like Seyval Blanc, the Finger Lakes in upstate New York offers an unforgettable wine tasting experience against a backdrop of gorgeous glacial lakes and incredible views that only get more spectacular when the leaves change color in the fall. With more than 100 wineries situated around Cayuga, Keuka, and Seneca lakes, plus incredible hiking at the nearby gorges (including the otherworldly Watkins Glen), there's more than enough to explore.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Grapes have been planted in Virginia since the birth of the U.S., but it wasn't until they were grown in the Shenandoah Valley that they began to flourish despite the heat and humidity. Nestled against the Blue Ridge Mountains, more than two dozen successful wineries produce everything from Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot to Chardonnay and even Viognier. Nearby Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, and Luray Caverns add to the beauty and intrigue of the area.
Kansas City, Missouri
Missouri may not be the country's best known wine region, but the state's town of Augusta is literally the first American wine appellation on record. Today the wine scene in Kansas City is experimental and interesting (in a good way), with winemakers playing around with cutting-edge hybrids like Vignoles and Traminette, while continuing to grow regional favorites like Norton and Catawba. And if you get tired of wine tasting, there's the area's famous jazz clubs and barbecue restaurants to turn to.
Row Ridge Vineyard & Winery
Texas Hill Country, Texas
Texas Hill Country spans a large area from San Antonio to Austin, and here, popular varietals like Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay thrive in the hot, dry climate, along with up-and-coming grapes like Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Touriga Nacional. Your getaway will no doubt involve a visit to the small, historic winemaking town of Fredericksburg and a drive down U.S. Highway 290, where wineries line both sides of the road, offering beautiful vistas and tasty pours.
Messina Hof Winery
Walla Walla, Washington
Want California-quality wine without the California price tag? Washington state grows the same grapes — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Syrah, Riesling — and crafts wine just as well, if not better. In fact, the Walla Walla region is highly regarded for its award-winning wines while offering the complete wine country experience, from small, family-owned wineries that give personal tours to artisanal, farm-to-table restaurants. After a long day of tasting, check out the area's interesting art museums and beautiful hikes as well.