February 13, 2012
Whether you’re embarking on your own “Sideways”-esque road trip, or just in search of some delicious sipping, you’ll find no shortage of amazing wine regions across America. With a vast variety of climates, the US has established some very fine regions for developing wine. Located in some of the most beautiful places in the country, these vineyards host swarms of tourists year-round. Check out our list of America’s Top Wine Regions for some tasty travel ideas.
Napa Valley, CA
In a state that produces more than 90% of America’s wine, Napa Valley
is the Grand Dame. An hour northeast of San Francisco
, this idyllic valley is home to more than 400 wineries which take advantage of the unique landscape, Pacific coast breezes and rich volcanic soil to produce some of the most amazing Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and other red blends in the country. Big wineries here include Chateau Montelena, Pride Mountain, Robert Mondavi and Shafer, among a host of others. And for the foodies, Napa’s also home to some of the country’s best restaurants - namely, Ubuntu, The French Laundry and La Toque.
Sonoma Valley, CA
The famed neighbor to Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley’s
closer proximity to the Pacific leads to cooler temperatures, which means better Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays (not to mention renown Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and top notch sparkling wines). Head to Ravenswood, Kendall-Jackson, Chateau St. Jean, or Sonoma Cutrer for some of the top wine in the region.
Willamette Valley, OR
Situated between Portland
, the Willamette Valley boasts a winning combination of a cool Pacific climate and rich soil, leading to some of the best Pinot Noir in the country. Over 200 wineries like Bethel Heights, King Estate and the Willamette Valley Vineyards dot the scenic landscape here, which is also an outdoor-lover’s paradise.
Santa Barbara, CA
While not as well known for wine as Napa and Sonoma, Santa Barbara is no also-ran. Ninety minutes north of Los Angeles
, this central coast region sees some of the coolest climate for grape-growing in the state, leading to renowned Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Top wineries in the area include Cambria, Sea Smoke, Gainey, Bridlewood and Zaca Mesa.
Long Island, NY
Long Island’s Finger Lakes region
is putting up a brave fight against America’s west-coast dominate wine scene, with wineries like Castello di Borghese, Martha Clara and Osprey’s Dominion well known for putting out sweeter wines like Ice Wine and Riesling, while the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc aren’t anything to sneeze at.
Columbia Valley, WA
The Columbia Valley has been home to wineries since 1825, but only rose to national prominence in the 1960s. Since then, wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle, Bunnell Family Cellar and Goose Ride have taken advantage of the unusually arid climate provided by the Cascade Mountains to produce award-winning Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Not a wine drinker? Check out our Top Brewery Tours