The United States is home to more wine-producing regions than you may think; in fact, vineyards can be found in almost all 50 states. No matter where you find yourself in the country, venturing through the vineyards for a vino-soaked getaway has never been easier.
And there’s no better time to soak up the ambiance of a winery than the fall. We’ve rounded up eight of the country’s most exciting wine-producing areas. Simply load up the car, grab a quick flight, or if you’re really lucky, snag an Uber and enjoy the best that American viticulture has to offer.
Verde Valley, Arizona
Wine country in the heart of Arizona? You bet. The state’s sun-drenched Verde Valley is located smack in the center of Arizona and is home to a handful of wineries, breweries, and other outdoor-focused attractions. Here, hot days and desert-like conditions provide optimal conditions for growing an array of varieties, including zinfandel, merlot, and chardonnay. Get your fishing, hiking, and/or bird-watching fix in at Red Rock State Park in the AM, taste your way through the Verde Valley Wine Trail during the afternoon, and round out the day with some swimming and kayaking in the nearby state parks. For outdoor adventurers looking for a wine-focused escape, this region is for you. (Urban dwellers, fear not. Making Uptown Sedona your home base is a great option.)
Wineries to visit: Oak Creek Vineyards, Clear Creek Vineyard & Winery
Finger Lakes, New York
Although many associate domestic viticulture with the West Coast, there are plenty of hidden gems to be found on the country’s eastern side—and the Finger Lakes are no exception. Upstate New York is home to some of the most breathtaking vineyard sites in the country. Most of the Finger Lakes’ grapes are cultivated on hillside vineyards around Seneca, Keuka, and Cayuga Lakes. Riesling, cabernet franc, pinot noir, and gamay dominate the region’s viticulture, so if you love high-acid reds and crisp, food-friendly whites, this region is just for you.
Wineries to visit: Dr. Konstantin Frank, Nathan K. (Hickory Hollow Wine Cellars), Ravines
Santa Barbara, California
Napa and Sonoma frequently get all the love, though some of California’s best quality-to-price values are tucked away in the Central Coast. Located about two hours northeast of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara’s countless hills and values are dominated by mineral-rich soils, sea-influenced vineyards, and large diurnal (day-to-night) temperature swings. These conditions work together to create some of the most optimal growing sites for cultivating chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah in the world. Spend your mornings on the beach, visit the city’s tasting rooms/nearby vineyards during the day, and end your ventures with a cocktail at Test Pilot, The Pickle Room, or The Good Lion. Fair warning, you’re going to love this place.
Wineries to visit: Whitcraft Winery, Kunin Wines, Au Bon Climat
Charlottesville (Monticello Wine Trail), Virginia
Virginia is definitely for (wine) lovers. Although viticulture first took place in the state during early colonization times, the state’s wine industry has only really begun to boom over the last few decades. The state’s overall climate is rather humid, which previously made viticulture quite challenging. Today, Virginia is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the United States and is home to over 250 wineries. Its most planted varieties include chardonnay, viognier, cabernet franc, and merlot. Head along the Monticello Wine Trail and get ready for a deliciously good time.
Wineries to visit: King Family Vineyards, Early Mountain Vineyards
Walla Walla, Washington
Washington State is hands-down putting out some of the country’s best wines. If you love merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or syrah-based reds, you absolutely need to visit Walla Walla. Located in the Columbia Valley, Walla Walla is dominated by well-draining soils, hot days, and chilly nights. The region tends to be cooler than other areas of the state due to suspended cool air that comes down from the Blue Mountains. Walla Walla is also known for its sweet onion and strawberry production, so be sure to indulge in the region’s other agricultural delights. Upon arriving in the quaint ‘city’ center of Walla Walla, grab a quick breakfast at The Maple Counter Café, dig for hidden treasures at Trove Home & Vintage Goods, and spend the afternoon tasting through the region’s delicious juice.
Wineries to visit: Cayuse Vineyards, L’Ecole No 41, Seven Hills
Texas Hill Country, Texas
For wine-soaked getaways with a southern flare, look no further than Texas Hill Country. Home to 50 wineries, jaw-dropping scenery, and some of the country’s best barbecue, you really can’t go wrong with a getaway to this centrally-located wine region. For urban dwellers looking for a taste of nightlife to go with their escape, make Austin your homebase and explore the vineyards by day. From Tempranillo to Tannat to Sangiovese, there’s really nothing that this experimental wine region isn’t giving a go.
Wineries to visit: La Cruz de Comal Wines, Southold Farm + Cellar, William Chris Vineyards
North Fork (Long Island), New York
Tri-state area residents, you’re in luck. Long Island’s North Fork is one of the most accessible (and fun) wine regions to visit on the East Coast. The area is home to about 50 unique wineries that produce wines from a variety of grapes across the entire flavor profile spectrum. Stack your day with wine-soaked visits, then hit the town of Greenport for oysters, beer, and an evening of dancing at Claudio’s. Although the region is still figuring out what grows its best in its soils, merlot and cabernet franc have proven to do extremely well. We recommend grabbing a bottle, throwing a slight chill on it, and heading to the ocean for some sunset sipping.
Wineries to visit: Macari Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards
For far too long, Sonoma lived in the shadows of its powerhouse neighbor, Napa. However, things are definitely changing. Known for world-class pinot noir, chardonnay, and a slew of other varieties, Sonoma is rising to the top of California’s viticultural scene. We recommend hitting the town of Sebastopol, popping through the local tasting rooms, and snagging a coffee at Retrograde Coffee Roasters. Grab a bottle (or few) of local juice, head for a hike along the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail, and end the day on a high note with a pour of something strong at Spirit Works Distillery—or simply crack another bottle from one of the region’s small growers, of course.
Wineries to visit: Pax Mahle Wines, Reeve Wines, Hirsch Vineyards