Best Wine Travel Vacations in the USA
While France, Italy, or Spain often come to mind when thinking about wine, the USA also boasts an incredible choice of world-acclaimed wines. What is more, some of the best American wine regions combine award-winning wines and breathtaking scenery for a truly unique and memorable wine adventure.
From the East Coast to the West Coast of the country, we’ve listed below some of the best wine travel vacations in the US so that you can sit back and relax while sampling the best wines these regions have to offer.
Charlottesville is regarded as the birthplace of American wine. Indeed, the third president of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, had a unique vision about the region. His goal was to turn Virginia into the country’s main wine producer in order to compete with European wines. Therefore, in 1771 he planted the first grapevines in Monticello, the famous Jefferson’s family estate located in south-central Virginia close to Charlottesville.
Since then, Charlottesville has become Virginia’s cultural and gastronomic hub and a major wine destination with over 300 wineries producing high-quality wines. This bustling town offers visitors a festive atmosphere as well as some stunning colonial architecture and a rich viticulture history.
This wine lover paradise is home to some of the most acclaimed wineries in the country, including the famous Jefferson’s Vineyards, which consistently produce award-winning Viogniers and Petit Verdots. For a wonderful wine experience, follow the Monticello Wine Trail, made up of 35 incredible wineries. Surrounded by hills and natural beauty, these spectacular and bucolic vineyards pride themselves on crafting high-quality wines year over. They also feature breathtaking views of the surrounding green rolling hills and the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains.
Among the best wineries to visit, we’d recommend Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards for its incredible dishes made from fresh and local ingredients along with its amazing wines, including award-winning Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs.
Another great spot for food and wine includes the picturesque Veritas Vineyard and Winery, situated in the Blue Ridge Mountain’s foothills and famous for its Claret and Kenmar. What’s more, every year in summer, the winery organizes an event called Starry Nights, where visitors can enjoy live music, great food, and of course, incredible wines under the stars. This is definitely a great holiday spot for wine lovers 😉
Last but not least, if you want to see the most spectacular views of the region while sipping on a delicious glass of Cabernet Franc, head to Stone Mountain Vineyards, located 1,700 feet above sea level.
Napa Valley, California
If you’re a sucker for delicious meals and incredible wines served in a romantic setting, you’ll enjoy your time in the stunning Napa Valley. Indeed, located north of San Francisco, this picturesque and award-winning wine-growing region has become one of the country’s main wine destinations due to its internationally acclaimed wineries, its distinct terroir, and it’s incredible bucolic scenery. Most Napa Valley wineries are family-owned businesses striving to craft high-quality wines.
There are over 30 different grape varieties planted in the Napa Valley. However, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and the signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the main grape varietals grown in the area.
The region owes its incredible success to a wine competition organized in 1976 (called the judgment of Paris) that saw its Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons win against their well-established French counterparts. This incredible achievement quickly propelled the wine region to becoming a high-quality wine-producing area. Since then, it has become one of the most popular food and wine destinations in the country. Nowadays, the area is home to over 400 boutique wineries and six fine dining Michelin-starred restaurants and is, therefore, a food and wine lovers paradise.
Fancy being transported to Italy while sipping on a glass of award-winning Zinfandel or Chardonnay?
Nestled in the heart of the renowned Napa Valley, the beautiful Italian-themed V. Sattui Winery offers wine aficionados over 60 carefully crafted renowned wines to choose from and enjoy in a picturesque setting. Their Michelin star chef is also adept at enhancing visitors’ food and wine experience offering exceptional dishes to complement the incredible wines on offer.
Domaine Carneros is another spectacular winery to explore while in the area. Indeed, the gorgeous fairy-tale-like estate was founded by the famous Taittinger Champagne family and is famous for producing exquisite sparkling wines. Besides, this gorgeous French-inspired mansion is surrounded by acres of sprawling vineyards. It is, therefore, the perfect spot to stop for lunch and sip on a couple of sparkling wines or enjoy a romantic sunset with a delightful glass of Pinot Noir and an amazing cheese platter. Some other fantastic locations worth exploring include Artesa Vineyards & Winery and Spottswoode.
Finger Lakes, New York
From its humble beginnings in the 1960s when Dr. Konstantin Frank, inspired by the similarity between the European climate and Finger Lakes climate, decided to grow Riesling, the region has gained an international reputation. Indeed, 58 years after Dr. Frank established its winery, the area has become a reference when it comes to quality, brimming with over 120 boutique wineries offering world-class wines.
Famous for its Riesling, this stunning wine-growing region has consistently been producing some of the best wines in the world and offers visitors some spectacular scenery featuring sprawling vineyards and gorgeous lakes. As a result of the hard work of incredibly skilled winemakers, the Finger Lakes region was awarded the second position on the coveted list of the top 10 wine destinations in the world by Vinepair in 2019. Other wine varieties grown in the area include Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.
While the region counts 11 lakes, the wine production is only organized around three of them; Keuka Lake, Cayuga Lake, and Seneca Lake. The latter is widely considered to produce the best wines due to its exceptional terroir.
Start your wine tour with Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, where it all began. The Frank family is proudly continuing the family legacy, and their hard work led to significant achievements over the last 50 years. Indeed, the estate is the most awarded vineyard in the state of New York with a record-breaking 129 gold medals in 2013. Along with a few wonderful Rieslings, the winery produces Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, and Grüner Veltliner.
If you love Riesling and enjoy romantic settings, head over to Boundary Breaks Vineyard. Located on the shores of the stunning Seneca Lake, this world-class winery produces exceptional Riesling and Gewürztraminer that can be enjoyed as the sun sets over the lake. Some other wineries worth exploring include Fox Run Vineyards, which offer live music along with fantastic wines in a remarkable setting, and Keuka Spring Vineyards, which is known for their acclaimed Gewürztraminer and their stunning lake views.
Have you explored other wine regions in the USA? We’d love to read about your experience in the comment section below!
If you’ve ever gone wine tasting and heard all these different wine terms, words and phrases, but had no idea what any of it meant, don’t worry about it,