If you’re one of those travelers who researches restaurants way in advance, tries to live like a local in an AirBnB, or always searching out unique food and drink venues, you would simply love a Wine-Themed vacation. Whether you’re trying to plan a quick fall getaway or thinking ahead to spring/summer, these top wine destinations should be on your list. There’s nothing quite as enchanting as a vacation in one of the world’s great wine regions (besides Loudoun County, of course!), where stunningly beautiful vineyards serve as the perfect backdrop for tasting some of the best vintages available. And while more and more wine destinations seem to sprout up every year, some places will always set the standard for wine lovers.
Where: Northern California
Napa Valley and Sonoma County are obvious choices are our first destination as not only do they both pour prestigious wines, but there is so much more to do there as well. One of the country’s most legendary wine destinations, Napa is home to more than 400 wineries and this quintessential California wine country is just an hour’s drive from San Francisco where the arts, leisure, and exploring abound. Not to mention, Sonoma County counts more than 50 nature parks with miles of hiking and biking trails (there’s ziplining and kayaking, too).
Where: Upstate New York
There are two regions within New York State that have attracted the attention of wine aficionados – the Finger Lakes region and the North Fork. Upstate New Yorkers know and love the Finger Lakes wine region, and now it seems the rest of the country is taking notice, too. This area started growing in popularity a few years ago, and there are now over 100 wineries in the area. Although it is best known for its way with the mighty merlot grape, it’s nearly impossible to resist the summery allure of rose and riesling as well. Driving distance from the D.C. area, we believe upstate New York should top your wine travel destinations list.
Where: Charlottesville, Virginia
Virginia is for wine lovers, y’all!! Pretty much in our own backyard is a location steeped in history which adds to the richness of a wine lover’s visit. This region has come a long way since Jefferson’s days, and now counts about 30 wineries along what’s known as the Monticello Wine Trail. Many of those wineries are located amid bucolic countryside settings with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Charlottesville is the perfect destination for a romantic fall weekend away, a fun girls trip, or a cozy family vacay and downtown boasts adorable shops, restaurants and other activities as well.
Where: Tuscany, Italy
A Tuscan wine tour in Italy is a dream come true for wine lovers, who are looking to taste the famous and greatest wines of Tuscany along with enjoying a unique cultural experience. Tuscany is home to Italy’s most scenic vineyards, verdant rolling hills and likely the country’s best known wine, Chianti. Only a three hour drive from Rome, Tuscany is definitely attainable in order to strike a balance between a bustling European getaway rich in history while adding some scenic tours and relaxation to the mix.
Where: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Willamette Valley in Western Oregon sits on about the same latitude as the Burgundy region of France, which is famous for its Pinot Noir. Referred to as Oregon's wine country, this 150-mile stretch between Portland and Eugene is home to more than 500 wineries. The Willamette Valley is considered one of the world's primary pinot noir-producing areas. If you don't have your own set of wheels, you can easily reach the region from Portland with the help of an organized tour or rent a car upon your arrival.