If you are looking for intoxicating adventure, there's one fun option that should be at the top of your consideration list. There are these places called “wineries,” which make a good buzz the wonderful by-product of a worthwhile trip into the history, process and tastings of its great locally-made wines. For every wine lover without a sense of smell and direction looking for the best wineries around, here's an almanac for you.
Napa Valley, CA
Might as well get the big girl out of the way with Napa Valley, the first area of wine to come to mind even if you’re not close to the west coast. That’s probably due to having more than 400 wineries in such a concentrated area, like a grape-loving alcoholic’s heavenly afterlife. One of Napa Valley’s most iconic wineries, Chateau Montelena Winery, is of the world class of wine tasting.
With a type of medieval renaissance setting in its stone castle and more than 130 years of history, the Chateau rates above competing wines, especially in the Chardonnays and Cabernets of the world. With a nice selection of aged wines and less snooty of a staff than most uptight wineries, the Chateau will give you a buzz even before you try the wine.
Texas Hill Country, TX
The hill country of Texas is greener and more filled with wine and wildflowers than one might expect. In fact, Texas Hill Country is on its way to being the next Napa Valley. Texas wineries have gotten themselves a little rep for pulling the southern belt of America’s weight when it comes to wine, starting with its Torre Di Pieta winery on the Wildflowers and Wine Trail.
Torre Di Pieta is voted one of the best due to its light crowds and laid back lifestyle compared to many popular wineries. Located in Fredericksburg, the winery focuses its tours on the fresh bloom of Texas Country with the ease of flowers, unicorns and the occasional triple rainbow.
Sonoma County, CA
Weighing heavily in comparison to the rest of the world’s wineries, Sonoma is another California contender for best spots to get out and about with a glass of wine. For a such big wine country, Sonoma is still rooted in laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle, and based on its location – between the coast, forests and valleys of Northern California – Sonoma is afforded a proportionately diverse selection of wine flavors.
The Platypus Wine Tour is noted as one of the best in Sonoma with some of the best rides and guides in the business. Aside from wine country, Sonoma is turning heads towards its hops and wheat with a few tasty treats, like Lagunitas and Russian River breweries while sporting a delicious array of Farmer’s Markets. Some might say Sonoma’s not second to Napa at all.
Brotherhood Winery, NY
As America’s eldest winery dating back to the 1830s, Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, New York knows a thing or two about crushing up grapes. With its cool, coveted underground cellar tour with more than 200 giant oak barrels, its rich-in-spirit tasting mansion and the eclectic art appreciation it has for local artists, Brotherhood is something of a bar setter for wineries when it comes to authenticity.
With premium New York wines, a number of flavorsome flights on the menu and a Grand Salon that’ll throw you back in time as fast as the wine hits your gullet, Brotherhood is premiere for wine excursions on the East Coast.
Willamette Valley, OR
Just above the California sun lays the cool, calm outdoors of Oregon where the woods and wine go together like seas and a ship. Willamette is of the ideal pots of Oregon Wine Country with its openness to both urban and rural life. Located just south of brew master, Portland, while remaining amongst rural settings, wine lovers can enjoy the great outdoors or set up in the city after a nice wine tour in Oregon’s outback.
With nine major trails and as many wineries in the local area, places like Salem, Eugene and Dundee are of the most talked about wine stops to see with a number of great tastes in such a close proximity. Before it’s over, you’ll be climbing the trees for another wine trail of beautiful Oregon.
Ponzi Vineyards, OR
As one of the oldest and most supreme wineries in the state of Oregon with a wine chef (Dick Ponzi) who has been named one of the finest winemakers in the world, particularly in its white wines, it would be unfair for us to give you this list and not include Ponzi Vineyards.
Set up in the Chehalem Mountains of Sherwood, Oregon, you’ll be like a drunk Robin Hood of the forest amongst of a modern state-of-the-art winery with both affordable tastings and tours, as well as bocce ball, the official drunk game of wine tasting.
Paso Robles, CA
Set on the central coast midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is a flourishing wine country of the past two decades. Saxum Vineyards, in particular, is praised as one of the finest wineries not only in Paso Robles but in California too. With some of the tastiest and hardest-to-find wines of California, Saxum is where you go to get the goods.
If you can catch Harvest Wine Weekend in October, it could be one of the best wine moments of your life in Paso Robles. With healing springs, spas and 170 wineries across California mountain coast, you’d be missing out if you were to stay home on the couch and drink wine from the box. Any other weekend, that’d be fine.
If you’ve been in Colorado long enough, it might be time to take a break from the strenuous activities of the mountain-loving Centennial state and lean back with a few glasses of its fine wine. With two-thirds of the Colorado’s vineyards and three-quarters of its wine grapes on hand, Palisade is chief wine processor of rich vino in all the land.
With more than a dozen wineries in Palisade alone, including Hermosa Vineyards, Palisade is a no-brainer for natives and passersby. Hermosa brings in some of the plumpest grapes from some of the highest grape growing elevations in western Colorado, and it’s motives lie in being the best, not the biggest, with unique wine tastes and knowledgeable tour guides, an admirable trait in any wine connoisseur.
Chateau Ste. Michelle, WA
As Washington’s oldest and most acclaimed wine tasting spot, the Chateau sets outside Woodinville, not far from Seattle, a city well-known for its coffee brewing. Standing tall on both tradition and innovation, the Chateau has made a name for itself by making wine tasting something of a lifestyle rather than breaks between beer cans.
With more than 100 acres and 100 years of history, the old winery has gone from being reliable to sustainable, keeping a green eye on its operations while still serving up some of Washington’s finest and moderately priced wine for all the grape guzzlers of the upper northwest. How about a round of applause?
Next: A Simple Wine Guide for Men
Merryvale Vineyards, CA
Named “Winery of the Year” two years straight by international wine spectators, Merryvale is another Napa Valley winery worth a solo mention for its atmosphere. As the first winery built in Napa since the end of prohibition, there’s a lot of history, landscape and beauty to such a place.
For people celebrating weddings, anniversaries or otherwise, Merryvale is toted the best in class and authenticity in all of California. Its celebratory rooms alone look like something out of a fairy tale that you would never read to your children for fear of them finding out your best-kept wine secret someday.