The Napa Valley and Sonoma are so yesterday. With an impressive patchwork of terroirs all over the USA, there's no shortage of fine wines to sample at cellar doors and exclusive vineyards. What's better is that they're as authentic as they come, are just as beautiful and remain largely undiscovered by the masses. Venture off the beaten wine routes and meet the makers at these lesser known wine regions you probably didn't even know existed.
The drops come tainted with a lingering hint of history in Loudoun, a region of tasting rooms and winding vineyards sprinkled across historic landscapes, Civil War battle sites and former president’s plantations. The Blue Ridge Mountains add extra awe just a stone’s throw from the nation’s capital.
30 minutes from Washington DC
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Viogner, Chardonnay
Keep a clear conscious in Mendocino, where certified organic and biodynamic wines are easy to find. The setting is equally as naturally-inclined; rugged landscapes filled with ancient redwoods, trickling lakes and ocean views prove the perfect accompaniment.
2 hours north of San Francisco
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah
Enjoy swell weather for all that sipping action; Palisade welcomes 290 days of sunshine a year. The epicentre of Colorado wine, premium wineries stand side by side with lavender gardens and farm fresh fruit stands on the picturesque western slopes of the Grand Valley.
Nearly 4 hours east of Denver
Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc
Southern New Mexico, New Mexico
Chink champagne glasses aplenty in the oldest wine-producing state in the USA (New Mexico planted vines for over a century before other states followed) where it began, in the south. Winery-hop and drop into tasting rooms amidst beautiful low and high-desert vistas.
Near Las Cruces, 3 hours south of Albuquerque
Sparkling, Chardonnay, Johannisburg Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Rural scenery, quality restaurants and award winning wines meet fantastic hiking, waterfalls and stunning caverns in the stunning Shenandoah Valley. Hailed a regional wine leader, it’s also ripe in antiques and Civil War battlefields.
1 hour west of Washington DC
Viogner, Reisling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Petit Verdo
Lake Erie Wine Country, Pennsylvania
Wine and water views go better than wine and cheese. Lake Erie Wine Country straddles the shores of beautiful Lake Erie, a region of quaint Victorian towns, beaches and wineries nestled in the embrace of green rolling hills curving through three states: Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.
1 hour east of Cleveland
Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Vidal, , Blaufrankisch, Dornfelder, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin
Niagara Falls Wine Trail, New York
What else is there to do near Niagara Falls? Drink wine along the lower river below the roaring waters. A unique microclimate has seen grape growing and wine making flourish here, followed by a passionate food and wine culture that dishes up year-round events and festivals.
30 minutes north-east of Niagara Falls
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot.
Pacific Coast Wine Trail
Quaint, seaside towns dotted along the scenic HWY 1 lead the way to rows and rows of vineyards never far from a magnificent ocean view lookout. Swim, fish and kayak between sampling tipples often poured by the winemakers themselves in this small, boutique region.
Between Los Angeles and San Francisco
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Pinot Gris
Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, Pennsylvania
For a true local experience, amble through the family-owned vineyards of this region where the winemaker will often be the one pouring and informing. Friendly faces are central to this relaxed wine route stretching through York County from the Susquehanna River Valley and into Maryland.
1.5 hours north of Washington DC
Riesling, Vidal Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin