The 10 Best Cities for Wine
We all know Napa Valley and Sonoma, but these are places you'd never suspect to find a glass of good vino.
You won’t need a passport to explore the many cities that are redefining the boundaries of wine country. Chances are, you're only a hop, skip, and cork pop away from one of the many vineyards peppered throughout America. Whether you have one day or an entire week to dedicate to wine tasting, you won’t have to travel far to sample some of the country’s best varieties.
1. Geneva, Ohio
The Midwest has a sweet side, and it tastes a lot like Riesling. The next time you’re passing through Ohio, grab a glass and stay awhile. Boasting 180 wineries throughout the state, Ohio is a hub of unique events for wine lovers. Round out your hike along the Grand River with a tasting at South River Winery or check out some classic cars as you sip some vino during Crusin’ da Vines Metal Muscle Nights. Geneva is located in Ashtabula County, which boasts the most wineries in the state.
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
With six wineries within the city limits — and more on the fringe — Santa Fe is more than a pit stop on the New Mexico wine trail. Sample organically grown Chenin Blanc and Petit Verdot at Vivac Winery, before settling in at Santa Sidra for their signature hard cider. All great choices to pair with a taco.
3. Palisade, Colorado
Nestled in the Grand Valley along the Colorado River, sits Palisade - a mecca of grapevines known as Colorado’s Wine Country. Many tours and tastings are not only affordable, but family friendly as well. Those with a more adventurous palate can sample the valley’s unique wines made from peaches, honey, cherries, and plums.
4. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
You’re going to need something to wash down that Carolina barbeque, and what better than the perfect glass of a full bodied Cabernet? Just the city of Winston-Salem alone is home to 42 vineyards growing varieties of European-style grapes for you to swirl, swish, and sip.
5. Arrington, Tennessee
Drive 30 minutes south from the action of downtown Nashville, and you’ll find yourself in the peaceful hills of Arrington, home to Music City’s answer to the most crowd pleasing red: Antebellum. This wine is a gem among the diverse portfolio of varietals produced at Arrington Vineyards by its owners: country music artist Kix Brooks, winemaker Kip Summers, and entrepreneur John Russell.
6. Stonewall, Texas
Texas Hill Country may conjure images of rugged cowboys, sitting around their chuck wagon eating over an open flame and sipping . . . Pinot? It might not make sense, but it’s likely to happen. With 46 wineries to choose from along the Texas Wine Trail, make a stop in Stonewall and it’s surrounding towns, where there are multiple vineyards to explore.
7. Clermont, Florida
Rainy day at the beach? Head inland and sample the Muscadine wines that put Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards on the map. If you’re feeling extra festive, splurge on Florida’s version of champagne: Pink Crescendo sparkling wine. Tours and tasting are offered seven days a week, and always free of charge.
8. Buchanan, Michigan
Tucked in the middle of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, the city of Buchanan has multiple stops for wine lovers. Enjoy a day of sampling wine and upscale dining at Tabor Hill Winery, or enjoy a glass of vino from local winemaker Hickory Creek Winery. Although the vineyards are open year-round, summer is recommended for visits due to the mild weather.
9. Santa Barbara, California
When it comes to California vineyards, Napa and Sonoma tend to hog the spotlight. But SoCal has a hidden gem that it’s not too eager for others to discover. Just the geography of Santa Barbara is enough to make you swoon, but stir in a few wineries and you have a legitimate paradise. You don’t even have to leave the city limits to enjoy the 50 different varieties of wine Santa Barbara has to offer — you can easily Uber from one to the next in a day’s time.
10. Lincolnville, Maine
If you’re visiting Maine, you’re going to want something fitting to go with all that lobster you’ll be noshing on. Plan to spend a day tasting some of Maine’s finest wine selections, with vineyards such as Cellardoor Wineries offering tastings of everything from a traditional Petit Sirah to their signature maple syrup and brandy-infused port, C’est de l’Or.