Wine travel doesn’t have to mean a trip to France or Italy. There are thousands of vineyards and wineries waiting to be uncovered right here in North America. From the valleys of California to the fields of Quebec to North Carolina, wine destinations across the continent offer distinctive regional flavors, plus they’re easily accessible for a weekend getaway with your crew. Check out our top six spots waiting to be savored on your next trip!
1. Finger Lakes, New York
The Finger Lakes region of New York State includes 11 lakes, over 100 vineyards, and the towns of Geneva, Ithaca, Watkins Glen, and Skaneateles, to name a few. The region may not be as famous as California’s grapes, but the Finger Lakes’ vineyards are a hidden gem right under your nose. The region is known for its Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines, as well as good Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. And with so many wine cellars in such close vicinity, you don’t have to stick to just one place. Dr. Konstantin Frank, located by Keuka Lake, is easily the most famous in the region, with world-famous Gewurztraminer and Riesling. Hermann J. Wiemer is another popular destination for its Rieslings as well as good Chardonnays. Head over for wine tastings and tours in this beautiful area of scenic farms, lakes and rolling hills.
2. Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada
We bet you didn’t think of Canada when you thought of great wine, but the region just outside of Montreal is known locally, and becoming more famous around the world, for its delicious Chardonnays and sparkling wines. Check out Les Pervenches for its blends of Seyval and Chardonnay, as well as Zweigelt and Pinot Noir grapes. The vineyard is relatively young, open only since 1991, but has produced some of the region’s more popular wines. Vignoble Le Cep d’Argent is another great vineyard in the Eastern Townships, offering visitors tastes of red wines, white wines, and blends, as well as ice wines made from Vidal grapes and sparkling wines and champagnes.
3. Sonoma County, California
While more well-known than our first two on the list, Sonoma County, California, can often be overlooked for neighboring Napa Valley. The region is famous for its Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Zinfandel. It’s hard to name all the vineyards for a good glass of wine in the region, but here are a few of the best ones: Try the flavors at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, known for their sparkling wines and gorgeous views of the Sonoma Valley; since 1857, Buena Vista has been a pillar of the California wine community, with great wines, a rich history, and of course, all the wine tastings and tours to make your trip perfect. (If you’re planning a trip to Sonoma, also be sure to check out vacation rentals in Sonoma.)
4. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
Another Canadian gem is the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The region on the southwestern side of Canada brims with over 150 vineyards growing grapes including Pinot Gris, Merlot, Gewurztraminer, and Cabernet Franc. The region is often called the “Napa of the North” because of its popular vineyards and great wine. Not only that, the Okanagan Valley is stunningly beautiful, making it the perfect backdrop for a wine-tasting tour. Savor the wine at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, and stay for the summer concerts or a meal at their world-class restaurant. Poplar Grove Winery is another must-visit spot in the region, offering delicious reds, whites, and rosés, including its signature Blanc de Noirs, alongside the gorgeous Naramata Bench.
5. Yadkin Valley, North Carolina
Head down south where sweet tea isn’t the only thing you’ll be wanting to drink. Yadkin Valley, in central North Carolina, is one of the area’s top wine-producing regions. Yadkin Valley is just an hour north of Charlotte, making it easily accessible, so you don’t have to travel across the country for a wine-filled weekend. Check out Shelton Vineyards, the oldest in the region, for the popular wine tours and tastings, including sips of the Riedel and bites of chocolate truffles paired with the wine. Jones von Drehle is known for their Petit Manseng, as well as the beautiful scenery and pet-friendly atmosphere, so you don’t have to leave your furry pal at home alone.
6. Willamette Valley, Oregon
The Pacific Northwest is perfect for its mild weather, fall colors, and a rich glass of Pinot Noir. The area south of Portland is known for their red wines and dozens of vineyards with unique flavors and twists on the classic wine. Soter Vineyard is great for making a champagne-style rosé with the grapes of a classic Pinot Noir. The vineyard, located in Carlton, Oregon, also offers amazing views from the Mineral Springs Ranch, and wine tastings as you learn about the art of wine-making. Adelsheim Vineyard is another popular destination in the Willamette Valley, offering classic Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, as well as private wine tasting events for large groups.
About the Author: Rebecca is a recent Washington, D.C., college grad who left the city of eternal brunch for the city of eternal spring to become a content writer at AllTheRooms in Medellin, Colombia. Likes include puppies, hiking, books, and fighting injustice. Dislikes include spiders.