May 19, 2015
Three Lesser-Known American Wine Regions to Visit
Though America faces some stiff competition in the wine world—we’re looking at you Burgundy—our country is home to some amazing wine regions producing excellent, high-quality wines. Of course, the West Coast, namely California, Oregon and Washington, has a bit of a stronghold on American wine production currently, but other regions, like New York’s Finger Lakes, aren’t far behind. To wit, we’ve rounded up three of America’s best wine regions that you may not have heard about before, but you should definitely add to your list. Take a look:
The Region: Virginia
The Wines: Though Virginia is the fifth largest wine region in the United States with more than 250 wineries and 385+ vineyards, the wines still struggle with a stigma among serious wine drinkers, primarily based on its novelty. But as the area continues to grow (sales of Virginia wines have increased by almost 26 percent since 2010) and produce higher quality wines, particularly of the Viognier variety, Virginia is quickly becoming one of America’s best wine regions. Be sure to try the state’s red blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, as well as Merlots and Petit Verdots.
Wineries Worth a Visit:
- Early Mountain Vineyards: a gorgeous winery located on the Monticello wine trail with a scenic tasting room, outdoor terrace with table service and tours available.
- Barboursville Vineyards: a historic winery complete with an Inn and award-winning restaurant, Palladio.
- Thibaut-Janisson Winery: a leader in sparkling wine.
Where to Stay: The Salamander Resort & Spa, which is located in Loudon County, the perfect central location for visiting Virginia’s best wineries—there are more than 50 wineries within a 60-minute radius. The LEED Green Building Certified resort sits on 340 picturesque acres and features an award-winning 23,000-square-foot spa, a dedicated Cooking Studio, Tree Top Zip Tour and a full-service Equestrian Center.
The Region: Dahlonega, GA
The Wines: The site of the first major U.S. gold rush in 1829—20 years before California’s Gold Rush, in fact—is now home to Georgia’s highly acclaimed wine country, beloved for their European and American varietals, like Merlot and Chardonnay, blends and Muscadine (primarily made in South Georgia). Downtown Dahlonega is home six tasting rooms, offering wines from all over North Georgia.
Wineries Worth a Visit: The Dahlonega Wine Trail includes five vineyards, most of which are open year-round for tastings, tours and special events:
- Cavendar Creek Vineyards
- Frogtown Cellars
- Three Sisters Vineyards
- Wolf Mountain Vineyards
Where to Stay: Montaluce Winery and Estates also offers four privately-owned villas available for rent (they all sleep up to six, and one sleeps 10). Not only will you have direct access to their 25,000-square foot winery building, but the European-style village the villas sit on is worthy of a postcard—expect communal gardens and rolling vineyards, anchored around authentic Italian architecture that wouldn’t be out of place in Tuscany. At the heart of the Montaluce Estate and at its highest point, the property boasts a modern 25,000-square foot winery building.
The Region: Texas Hill Country
The Wines: More than 275 wineries and 4,400 acres of grapes call Texas home, with many of the state’s best wines coming out of the Texas Hill Country, the second largest AVA in the United States. Surprising considering how under-the-radar these Mediterranean-styles wines have flown, despite the top-notch varietals coming from the region. Be sure to try Texas’ Viognier, Marsanne and Albarino if you’re a white drinker; red lovers will revel in Texas’ Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Tannat.
Wineries Worth a Visit: Though Texas Hill Country lays claim to many impressive wineries, we’re partial to a group called Texas Fine Wine, which includes:
- Bending Branch
- Brennan Vineyards
- Duchman Winery
- Pedernales Cellars
Where to Stay: The Inn at Dos Brisas, a 313-acre Relais & Châteaux luxury ranch resort home to Texas’ only Forbes Five Star restaurant, which is provisioned by its own 42-acre USDA Certified Organic garden and complemented by a 7,000-bottle award-winning cellar.