7 Awesome U.S. Wine Destinations That Aren’t Napa
When it comes to finding good wine, we generally think of Napa, France, Italy or Spain. Problem is, those are big trips. So we did a little research and found that fancy European-quality wine can be had all over the country, maybe even right in your backyard. Consider these seven American locales the next time you’re pining for a tasting.
This piece originally appeared on PureWow.
Best Riesling: Finger Lakes, NY
There are more than 100 wineries, breweries and distilleries in New York’s upstate Finger Lakes region (group tastings at Fox Run Vineyards are particularly lovely). Similar to the German wine regions along the Rhine, the Finger Lakes is especially well-known for its Rieslings.
Where to sip: Fox Run Vineyards (Penn Yan, NY)
Best Chardonnay: Newport, Rhode Island
Even if you don’t make it to Newport’s excellent wine and food festival, head to the region (often compared to France’s Loire Valley in terms of terrain and climate) any time of year to sip white and sparkling wines on the water among swoon-worthy mansions.
Where to sip: Greenvale Vineyards (Portsmouth, RI)
Best Merlot: Texas Hill Country
Though we generally associate this area west of Austin with barbecue, Texas Hill Country is actually the fifth largest wine-producing area in the U.S. Sip strong reds like Merlots and Zinfandels that thrive in the region's sweltering heat.
Where to sip: Becker Vineyards (Stonewall, TX)
Best Shiraz: Verde Valley, Arizona
The Verde Valley (near Sedona) is home to a number of terrific wineries. Check out the self-guided Verde Valley wine trail, and make stops at the region’s main purveyors. Be sure to sample some antioxidant-packed Syrahs (commonly known as Shiraz), which are incredibly full-bodied and darker than cabernets.
Where to sip: Alcantara Vineyards (Cottonwood, AZ)
Best Cabernet Franc: Traverse City, Michigan
Interesting: Michigan’s winemaking industry grew largely out of grape juice production. In fact, many of the vineyards in Traverse County were originally planted by Welch’s juice company. Check out Traverse City’s excellent whites and lighter reds, like Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
Where to sip: Good Harbor Vineyards (Lake Leelanau, MI)
Best Malbec: Snake River Valley, Oregon and Idaho
So this place is awesome. Snake River Valley stretches across Idaho and Oregon and is similar in composition to Spain’s Rioja region--though a large variety of grapes are grown here. Red lovers will go bonkers for the locally turned out South American Malbecs, like this one from Huston Vineyards.
Where to sip: Snake River Winery (Boise, ID)