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There’s more to a wine tour than just sipping samples and buying a few cases of your favorite sauvignon blanc. You can connect with each grape variety by experiencing the landscapes that they grew in.
For an unforgettable weekend of wine-tasting, we adapted suggestions from Lonely Planet’s brand-new Wine Trails guidebook. Outstanding wines and indelible recollections originate from five US regions.
New York’s Finger Lakes
Because of its severe winters, New York’s Finger Lakes region is widely considered to be one of the world’s most challenging wine-growing areas. Long and deep Seneca, Cayuga, Keuka, and Skaneateles lakes are now dotted with vineyards after the introduction grapes of European vinifera origin in the 1960s.
Some vintners think the Finger Lakes’ terroir is best communicated through riesling and pinot noir. Others use a wide range of grapes and place an emphasis on process, whether using wild or cultured yeast, mechanical or manual harvesting, oak or steel, etc. Visit Watkins Glen or Ithaca as your first stop to sample the local fare.
Walla Walla, Washington.
Walla Walla Valley is a region in eastern Washington State, just south of the Blue Mountains, known for its excellent wines. Walla Walla is the best place to go wine tasting in Washington, and it also has some of the best restaurants, inns, and hotels in the state.
For exceptional syrah, head to the Rocks District within the Milton-Freewater American Viticultural Area (AVA). Walla Walla is home to some of the state’s best chefs, so stop by for a meal and a stroll while you’re in the area.
The Atlantic Upland of Pennsylvania.
Old Farms, Independence Hall, Valley Forge Cabins, and Gettysburg Battlefield are just a few examples of Pennsylvania’s many historical landmarks. It wasn’t until 1968 that California allowed the production of wine, but there are now more than 300 wineries across the state. Many people appreciate the elevation and drying breeze that the rolling terrain from the Allegheny and Pocono Mountains. Pennsylvania’s varied landscape results in four distinct seasons.
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc are just a few vinifera varieties that improve with age, and so are hybrids like Chambourcin and Traminette. Sugar cravings are sated with American-grown grapes like Niagara and Concord. Premium dry wines, including red and white blends, experimental varieties like Grüner Veltliner, Albariño, Zweigelt, and Blaufränkisch, are achieving the greatest gains..
Oregon’s Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s premier winegrowing area, and its pinot noir is among the best in the world. Expat Burgundians who have set up shop in the region’s wine industry claim the region’s red wines are virtually indistinguishable from those of their homeland. White wine lovers can have confidence in pinot gris, chardonnay, and aromatic riesling and gewürztraminer, which improve with each vintage..
The valley’s 930 wineries are a great place to begin your exploration of the region, and they’re all located just south of Portland. There is not only eccentricity but also a wide variety of excellent dining and drinking establishments. An emphasis on wine production can be seen in the prevalence of organic produce, specialty coffee and beer, and street food.
To be precise: Grand Valley, Colorado
High-altitude vineyards in Colorado produce world-class grapes and provide breathtaking panoramas of the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado River. Alkaline soils and thin mountain air allow the state’s passionate, inquisitive community of grape-growers and winemakers to create wines with personality and individuality.
Winemakers in Colorado are patient and dedicated to the state’s distinctive terrain. This hidden gem of the wine industry is known for its warm welcome and contagious optimism. Grand Valley AVA vineyards at an altitude of 4,500 feet benefit from the direct sunlight of the valley’s chalky Book Cliffs, producing excellent Bordeaux, Rhône, and Italian grapes.