Cruising Terroir’s top 10 wine adventure destinations in the USA
By: Cruising Terroir
Naturally, we were thrilled when GotSaga asked us to do a post on the 10 best wine adventure destinations in the USA. Having not actually departed, we don’t yet know the specific rank of each of the top 10 wine adventure destinations. We are confident, however, that our list covers 10 of the best regions to go spend some quality wine time in.
Texas Hill Country
Photo: By Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits
There’s something about Austin that is hip and cool. Being the home of “Austin City Limits” and SXSW, how could it not be a happening place? The hills surrounding Austin are also known for being very beautiful, and vineyards have been popping up more and more in the last several years. Not only do we anticipate finding large, Texas sized wineries that serve up manly reds and gracious, southern hospitality, we also expect to find something more: hipness.
Photo By dj @ oxherder arts
Long Island, NY
If you venture through NYC and then onto Long Island, continue for about an hour, and you’ll end up looking out at the Atlantic ocean. Chances are, you may be looking out at the ocean while you’re standing in a vineyard sipping on locally made wine. I don’t know, but something about seeing a Broadway show one night, and the next day relaxing in slow-paced wine country seems like a perfectly paired NYC style wine adventure.
Photo By msspider66
Photo By kthread
Virginia is for wine lovers! With so much history, one might not initially associate Virginia with wine country, but seeing that Thomas Jefferson envisioned Virginia as being a major player in the wine world and that George Washington planted a vineyard there, wine in Virginia is about American as apple pie. Currently, there are over 140 wineries in the state within five distinct growing regions. Visiting the wineries of Virginia will not only expose you to some delicious wines, you’ll undoubtedly be educated a bit on our nation’s history!
Admittedly, the Arkansas wine region remains a bit of a mystery to me, but that’s partly why my interest in piqued, and why the Cruising Terroir team will be traveling there. Arkansas wine has a “blink and you might miss it” feel, but it was also obscurely mentioned in a 2007 report by Orbitz as the #3 wine destination of the US, and when mentioning our project to person we met in a California restaurant, there was an absolute insistence that we we must go there and visit the wineries in Altus, Arkansas. So off we go!
Photo By erhubbell
With more acres of vineyards dedicated to organic practices than Napa and Sonoma combined, Mendocino County is America’s greenest wine region. Not only are some of the best wines out of California being produced here, but the people behind the wines are committed to sustainability and are leaders in the industry in these practices. Visiting the wineries in Mendocino means you get an insider look at green practices, and that feels good.
Photo By mk30
Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
This is my home base, so I know this region intimately, and I know that it firmly deserves a place within the top 10 wine adventure destinations of the USA. Just south of San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Mountains are located between the Pacific Ocean and Silicon Valley. The mix of people making wine ranges from the counter-culture/surfer type to high-tech executives whose creative and financial outlets are making fine wine. Hands down, some of the best Pinot Noir being made in this country is coming from these Mountains. And the best way to explore this region? Hop in an all electric, luxury Tesla vehicle, drive the scenic mountain roads between vineyard stops, and then get down to the beach just before sunset.
Photo By dklimke
We’re planning on spending 4 leisurely days meandering from northern Oregon to southern Oregon visiting wineries along the way. Some fantastic wines are being produced in this state as a result of soils, climate, geographic location (hence quality of fruit), and winemakers taking what they do very seriously. Winemakers in this region are widely known for being accessible to those wishing a detailed view, so if you’re interested in a technical exploration of wine while breathing in crisp, clean, Oregon air, go there.
Photo By Kwong Yee Cheng
There’s an enthusiasm with Washington wine, and for good reason. The wine is good! The areas of eastern Washington around Walla Walla and Columbia River Valley are producing some fantastic wines, and the wineries in these areas are gorgeous, peaceful and charming. Western Washington is making a name for itself too. Viticultural advances in the past few decades have opened up this region to grape growing like never before. Innovative minds with a can-do attitude are at work in this state, and couple that with a visits to natural attractions like Mt. Rainier and the Puget Sound, and you’ve got a nice wine-focused vacation on your hands!
Verde Valley, AZ
If I can admit, I’m most excited about heading to Arizona and checking out what’s going on there regarding wine. I’m definitely a person drawn in by the magic of the desert, and exploring what high-altitude (5,000 ft) Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like makes me giddy with anticipation.The Verde Valley is located north of Phoenix and just South of Flagstaff right near the beautiful Sedona desert. This part of the trip is going to rock. You wanna know why? If you’ve ever wanted to spend your morning kayaking down a canyon river and then stop for lunch at a winery to do a little wine tasting, you can do that here!
Napa, Sonoma & Paso Robles
Not usually lumped together, they are on this list for the sake of including the others and not dismissing these relevant and important heavy hitters of the wine scene. Each region bodes convenience for the visitor (many wineries are pretty close together), luxury feel, and quality. It would be easy to spend several days in each region and barely scratch the surface of what’s offered. Restaurants in these regions are pretty spectacular too.
Photo By iamtheh
About the blogger:
Cruising Terroir is a “wine expedition” set to depart California this summer for a 60 day RV excursion exploring many of the various wine regions of the United States. Our goal within the 60 days is to visit over 100 wineries - in over 15 different wine regions - in over 13 states. Not only are we going to taste our way across the country, we want to meet the people behind the wines and learn to understand the wines by understanding the terroir - or sense of place - at each stop we make. You can follow our adventure at www.cruisingterroir.com. You can also join us on Facebook & Twitter!