While we may consume a hefty amount of European wine here in the U.S., it’s important not to neglect the growing wine scene in our own backyard. American vineyards and wineries are starting to get the recognition — and tourism — they deserve as more areas are becoming designated wine regions. While wineries are great places to visit for any vino lover, we’re sussing out beautiful vineyards that not only enhance the views, but also offer a better sense of where the wine in your glass comes from. So whether you’re a wine know-it-all or a toast-to-the-day type of person, here are eight of our favorite vineyards in the U.S.
1. Cristom Vineyards in Salem, Oregon
Cristom Vineyards is home to eight estate vineyards, including four dedicated to Pinot Noir. Their sustainable approach has been a priority since they planted their first vines in 1997. We love this winery for their natural winemaking process, private vineyard and estate tours, and the fact you can order premade picnic baskets full of Oregon-made treats to enjoy in between the vines.
2. Rockside Winery and Vineyards in Lancaster, Ohio
Approximately 45 minutes from Columbus, Ohio, the family-owned Rockside Winery & Vineyards plants varietals than can survive the area’s harsher weather conditions. This makes it a prime spot for tasting American and French-American varietals (most grapes grown in the U.S. are European, namely French and Italian). Visitors can walk through the vineyards, enjoy the scenic vistas, join in on free Saturday winery tours, and toast to Thursday night happy hours.
3. Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, Texas
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and Becker Vineyards seems to have taken that to heart. This producer is dedicated to promoting, using, and crushing only Texas-grown grapes — a mission that has them crushing more Texas fruit than any other winery in the state. They grow seven varietals on the 56-acre estate — mostly reds (Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, and Sangiovese) and one white (Sauvignon Blanc). The vines are accessible, but time your visit during a seasonal grape crush for an extra-memorable day. Bonus: There’s also an on-site lavender field that smells divine and adds to the bucolic atmosphere.
4. Va La Vineyards in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Adventurous, in-the-know wine drinkers come to Va La Vineyards to taste unusual bottles and blends of cloned French and Italian varietals. The small hillside vineyard is less than seven acres, but it does a lot with a limited amount of space. Most impressively, vintner Anthony Vietri has divided this small plot into four distinct terroirs, giving him the ability to maximize the number of varietals he can experiment with in the farms wines.
5. Linden Vineyards in Linden, Virginia
Linden Vineyards is about an hour’s drive from Washington, D.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s the perfect day trip, swapping out city skylines for vast countryside landscapes, which just happen to pair well with the estate’s delicious wines. Virginia’s wine country is fairly celebrated these days, and Linden was at the forefront, producing since the late 1980s. This winery stands out for its unfiltered wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux. We like the laid-back atmosphere that is carefully curated thanks to a few house rules (no parties, no parties over six, and no non-members out on the deck).
6. Fox Run Vineyards in the Finger Lakes, New York
There are over 100 wineries in the Finger Lakes, making it a fast-growing mecca for wine in the U.S. People are only just starting to catch on and the experience is still casual and devoid of the pretension you might find on the west coast. Fox Run Vineyards, in Penn Yan off Seneca Lake, aims to make wine as accessible as possible, doling out great tasting experiences and educational 45-minute vineyard walks. So grab a glass of one of their limited-edition estate wines, drink, and be merry.
7. Wolffer Estate in Long Island, New York
Wolffer Estate, a Hamptons staple, is worth spending a full day in, rather than doing a quick in-and-out tasting. The sweeping vineyards here are gorgeous, the wines are tasty, and the cheese and charcuterie plates are addictive. This sustainable vineyard stretches 55 acres and is a superbly romantic and popular backdrop for weddings. Repeatedly recognized by Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, this vineyard also uses natural winemaking processes and is considered one of the east coast’s best producers, bottling reds, rosé, whites, sparkling wine, and even cider.
8. Trinchero Napa Valley in St. Helena, California
Trinchero Napa Valley has six vineyards scattered all over Napa Valley, though if you want to snag a spot in the tasting room, you’ll have to head to St. Helena. The tasting room and visitor center boasts stunning views over 13 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, dubbed Mario’s Vineyard. Tasting experiences, barrel tasting tours, and food pairings are all available. Visitors to the winery will also have the opportunity to sip wines that aren’t available anywhere outside the winery itself.
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