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Wine tasting across America


Top 7 destinations that will surprise the wine enthusiast.


Shelly Cone, January 31, 2014
You've been to Napa Valley, you've tasted the Sonoma Coast. Temecula, you've done it. You've cruised the California Central Coast swirling and sipping the Zinfandels of the Paso Robles region to the Pinot Noirs of Santa Barbara County. And of course Washington and Oregon have nothing left to hide from you. You're a wine enthusiast and with Riedel glass in hand and you are seeking the next grape frontier to explore. Is there more? Oh yes there is, let us take you on the road to some of the lesser-known, but up and coming wine regions across America. Here are our top 7 destinations for the wine enthusiast that will surprise you.
Fredricksburg, Texas
Flickr, John Tornow

Fredricksburg, Texas



Texas is hot, dry, and full of cattle and cowboys, but wine?

The Texas Hill Country wine region surrounds the city of Fredericksburg with rugged limestone outcroppings, pristine rivers and creeks, and of course those famous Texas panoramic views. With more than 70 wineries this region is gaining a reputation for strong Spanish varietals that are producing award-winning wines. Grab a Texas Hill Country wine and vineyard guide map and start sipping.

Reminiscent of the wine growing regions of central Italy and France's Rhone Valley, this Central Texas wine region boasts a selection of premium wines. Travel to the Texas Hill Country wine region and taste the some of the biggest wines around.
Maryland
Flickr, Claire P.

Maryland



You probably guessed Maryland has more to offer than just crab cakes. It also has the perfect libation with which to pair its signature dish. Let your palate experience the Chardonnay of Spain, a grape called Albariño. This varietal has caught on in the United States and is quickly growing in popularity. Try it at Black Ankle Vineyards in Mount Airy—where it has been growing since 2004—or, Serpent Ridge Vineyard or Royal Rabbit Vineyard in Baltimore County. Find your way with the Maryland guidemap and explore some of the popular varietals that are making Maryland their home.

The Italian varietal Barbera has also found a home in Maryland where it has taken to the soil and weather as much as Maryland winemakers have taken to this varietal itself. From lighter bodied and fruity to rich and thick, Barbera is making mouths water in Maryland. A majority of the state's vineyards are planted in Central Maryland, but you'll also find wine in the Southern Plain, the Western Mountains and the state's fastest growing wine region on the Eastern Shore.
Santa Clarita Valley
Flickr, Damian Gadal

Santa Clarita Valley



Just 30 miles from Los Angeles but hours away from what's commonly considered wine country in California, the Santa Clarita Valley plays host to an assortment of wineries. The climate is hot and dry in the region and you'll find some excellent bold reds. Tip a little tempranillo, sip a Syrah or get down with a dark and inky malbec.

Visit Agua Dulce Winery in the newly formed Sierra Pelona Valley appellation for an unforgettable Sangiovese blend or experience a taste of buffalo meat alongside a glass of wine produced from grapes grown in the AVA known as Antelope Valley of the California High Desert at Antelope Valley Winery. Taste wines of the region and then use our Los Angeles County Thomas Guide to head into the city for an evening of fine dining, LA-style.
Long Island
Flickr, Jiashiang

Long Island



In one of the most diverse wine regions of the United States you'll find everything from crisp, dry white Sauvignon blancs, Chenin blancs and Pinot Grigio to outstanding Merlots and Syrah to sparkling wines and fruity dry rosé.

Long Island has got a bit of everything, East Coast charm, a sense of romance and even the wine with which to spark that romance. The wine region here has grown in just a couple decades to 50 wine producers and more than 3,000 acres of wine. Sample a few wineries find that bottle you love and drink it all in at one of the area's quaint bed and breakfasts. Don't forget to bring along your Long Island Road Map to help you find your way.
Charlottesville, NC
Tony Fischer

Charlottesville, Virginia



Charlottesville has a lot going on: history, gorgeous scenery, and of course there is wine. Old World style, New World style, bright, medium-bodied wines, fruit-forward, jammy wines, wines that pair well with food, and wines you can drink all on their own.

Charlottesville's Monticello American Viticultural Area is named after the home of former president Thomas Jefferson, and is filled with small, family-run wineries that are passionate about what they do and passionate about sharing it.

After a saunter through the Virginia's wine country you may be inspired to see what else the state has to offer. Bring along our map of Virginia to find all that this state has to offer.
Kentucky
Flickr, Alex Brown

Kentucky



Maybe you think of Kentucky and think bourbon. Try again. The state also has about 45 wineries focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. In 2011 Kentucky produced more than two million gallons of wine.

That shouldn't come as a surprise when you realize that commercial wine production started in Kentucky in 1799. Kentucky was actually the third largest wine-producing state in the country until prohibition decimated its wine industry.

Of course that's all in the past and Kentucky once again is in the wine business. With your Kentucky Travel Map in hand you'll see vineyards stretch across blue grass hills as you stroll and explore varietals. Take an unhurried sip of a Seyval Blanc at Up the Creek Winery or savor the blackberry and licorice notes of a Chambourcin at Prodigy Vineyards and Winery.
Ohio
Flickr, Everett

Ohio



Ohio is known for lots of things. The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, growing soybeans, corn and Chrissie Hynde from The Pretenders, and now wine. More than 110 commercial wineries operate in Ohio's five AVAs.

Ohio began producing wine in 1823 and much like Kentucky, prohibition destroyed its wine industry. These days you can travel the Ohio River Valley Wine Trail in Southwest Ohio for some of the regions best ice wine and late harvest wines.

Explore ice wine country like a local with the Ohio Travel Map and taste what the rest of the country is missing out on.

Visit Ferrante Winery and Ristorante for a selection of 22 wines including Riesling and ice wine. Or travel to the Unicorn Wine Guild for a sampling of white merlot or an ice wine Cabernet Franc.


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