Most wine-lovers dream of a wine-themed vacation in Europe.
The vineyards of Tuscany, Burgundy and the Loire Valley are certainly attractive, but it is possible to have a great winery vacation much closer to home.
Well known US wine regions, such as Napa Valley, draw millions of tourists per year.
Some lesser known areas are equally attractive and much less crowded than the US’s wine-making headliners.
You might be surprised to find high quality wineries much closer to your home than you think.
Searching for the Perfect Wine Destination for your next vacation. These places are worth considering…
Napa Valley & Sonoma
Napa Valley is the most well known wine making region in the US.
Millions of tourists come here, and to nearby Sonoma, each year to visit local wineries.
Yes, it is crowded, but there is a reason that the regions of Napa and Sonoma are so popular.
The rural scenery is undeniably beautiful and the wineries have plenty of atmosphere and an ambiance that might make some people think that they are actually in one of Europe’s best wine-growing regions.
Santa Barbara County
Though it does not have the same notoriety as Napa, Santa Barbara County has an attractive array of wineries.
Tourists can actually visit tasting rooms within the city of Santa Barbara itself.
The wines are great here, but so is the weather and scenery.
Santa Barbara is often referred to as the American Riviera, so visitors can enjoy a climate and landscapes that are not unlike the best Mediterranean wine-growing regions.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is one of the most well-known wine-growing regions outside of California.
Lush landscapes and a laid-back vibe make this an attractive wine-vacation option.
Oregon is a great choice for people who want to focus on good wine, not on the culture that surrounds wine-tasting and wine tourism.
New York’s Finger Lakes boast some of the most impressive wineries in the Eastern US.
A wine trail winds around the lakes, which are attractions in and of themselves because of their natural beauty and outdoor activities.
Area wineries have organized themselves, and there are several different “wine trails” that tourists can follow, either as part of a group or by themselves.
Additional wineries sit in the Hudson Valley area of Central New York.
Colorado’s Western Slope is a popular destinaton for people who are seeking something a little different.
Some of the best high-altitude wineries in the world are found here.
The scenery around wine towns like Palisade is unique, but the laid-back atmosphere is what impresses tourists the most.
There is very little pretension here, and many vineyards also have fruit orchards, so people can pick fruit in addition to tasting local wines.
Washington’s Columbia Valley
According to some wine aficionados, Washington is the next best wine state after California.
Some areas within the state’s Columbia Valley are extremely rural, with wineries found down small country roads.
If you are seeking a collection of wine-makers who have a kind of “undiscovered” feel, then this is certainly the destination for you.
Tell us about your favorite wine destinations in the US in the comments section below…
About the Author
Josh is a freelance writer whose articles about travel and culture have appeared on Mother Nature Network, CNN.com, and, of course, the Estate Weddings and Events blog. He has traveled all around the US and East Asia, but is just as happy at home with a cup of coffee (or a quality microbrew) and reruns of Mad Men or 30 Rock. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or Google+.