From Arizona to New York, Wine Country Options Abound

As the number of vaccinated Americans increases, tourism professionals are predicting a big upswing in road trips this summer. People just want to get out and experience some form of “normalcy.”

With that in mind, winery owners in the Napa Valley and Sonoma County — California’s two most-visited wine regions — are preparing for an influx of visitors, perhaps like no other on record. Those two-lane wine country roads are expected to be bumper-to-bumper, and reservations at the region’s resorts, hotels, motels and restaurants could be at a premium.

If battling crowds doesn’t sound like a fun vacation, keep in mind that Napa and Sonoma aren’t the only places to go for a real “wine country” experience. Several other states are home to regions around which a wine lover could build a weekend or a week.

Following are five of the best. One is bound to be near you…

ARIZONA

The state is home to three wine regions — Sonoita/Elgin, Willcox and Verde Valley — as well as several wineries outside those regions, which are lovingly referred to as “the mavericks.”

You’ll encounter outstanding examples of Grenache, Tempranillo, Viognier and Vermentino, and the vintners love giving their wines names like “Tarzan” and “Jane.”

You’ll find lots of great information here.

MICHIGAN

The two main wine routes are Old Mission Peninsula (around the middle of Grand Traverse Bay) and Leelanau Peninsula (along the west side of the bay).

Here, you’re more likely to encounter cold-climate grape varieties such as Blaufrankisch (commonly found in Central Europe), as well as rosé-style and sparkling wines.

This website will help you plan your trip.

NEW YORK

No matter where you venture in the Empire State, you’re not far away from wine country. Clockwise from the extreme northern part of the state, these include Champlain Valley of New York, Upper Hudson, Hudson River Region, a detour east to Long Island, “back on the clock” to Finger Lakes, and finishing up in Lake Erie and Niagara Escarpment.

These and several sub-regions have created helpful “wine trails” for visitors to follow as they explore the state and sample a wide array of traditional and hybrid varieties, as well as outstanding sparkling and sweet wines.

Learn more here.

TEXAS

Don’t mess with Texas, and definitely don’t mess with Texas winemakers, some of the most independent-minded vintners in the world.

Hill Country, easily accessible from Austin, has emerged as the hub of the Texas wine industry. There, you’ll find an array of varieties both common (Merlot) and less so (Clairette Blanche), often poured by the vintner who made them.

Click here to get more information.

VIRGINIA

One of America’s oldest states (the 10th to join the Union, to be precise) is home to 300 wineries. Its geographic location enables growers to farm nearly all types of grapes, including some you’d normally associate with the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

Virginia has eight American Viticultural Areas and 10 wine regions, and the winery experiences range from ultra-modern to homey and historic. If you have time to visit only one region, head for the breathtakingly beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

“Virginia is for lovers” is the state’s tourism motto. As you’ll learn when you visit that includes wine lovers.

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Posted in Our Wine Travel Log

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