Wine in America was pretty much relegated to boxes and Boone’s for the under-30 set not too many decades ago. But the conscious consuming millennial cohort have been drinking wine as if a prohibition was imminent. How much do they love it? They consumed nearly half of all wine sold last year, according to people who do research on drinking for a living (and this author wishes her guidance counselor had told her about said profession!). So to celebrate this newly popular American beverage, we thought it only fitting this July 4th celebration week to put the spotlight on American, non-California/ Oregon/ Washington, winemakers. Because is there nothing more American than hard work, ingenuity, and the gritty, can-do, entrepreneurial spirit of creating something never existed before? We think not.
Salute and wave a flag to (and purchase when you can) wine from these diverse regions and their vintners. They’re using their hands and muscle and talent to craft delicious wines in some challenging conditions, made right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Finger Lakes, NY
Finger Lakes sounds like an exotic Scandinavian manicure, but it’s actually the southern region of New York state. Once thought of as an underrated wine region, it’s now on wine people’s best of the best list. There are well over 100 wineries in the area, and new restaurants and lodgings are popping up every day. Take a visit during the fall, as nothing is more picturesque then walking around the lakes during fall foliage season sipping some locally made wine.
Texas Hill Country, TX
We love what the Lone Star state is doing with wine so much, we wrote a blog post about Texas wines not too long back. Of the three areas producing wine, Texas Hill Country is really the Top Gun, the best of the best. Highway 16 cuts through the whole region, a stretch of 30 expansive miles with plenty of wineries (and side-of-the-road BBQ) to choose from. If you find yourself in Austin with some time to spend, you couldn’t find a better way to spend a day than the Texas wine way.
Virginian wine dates all the way back to Thomas Jefferson. He was so enamored with French wine, he gave the trade a try himself and planted the first grapes in Charlottesville (where UVA now sits). It took a few centuries for local gentlemen farmers to catch up, but the Charlottesville area is now one of the most exciting regions for wine. We wrote about how Dave Matthews planted vines in the ‘hood, and more and more tiny and mid-size vineyards are growing grapes that really hit the spot like viognier, merlot and petit verdot.
Grand Junction, Colorado
While white snow-capped mountains may be your sole image of Colorado, it also boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and unending greenery (off season). The Rocky Mountain state’s Grand Valley AVA is its premiere winemaking region. Travel around Grand Junction and Palisades, and you’ll pass 107 vineyards, 21 wineries, orchards, and outdoor art studios. If you want a little bang for your buck, you can also sample all that Colorado wine has to offer at the Colorado Mountain Winefest. It’s held annually every September to coincide with the annual grape harvest.