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6 Best Wine Vacations in the U.S. for Wine Enthusiasts
If you’re a true wine connoisseur, enjoying a bottle of wine from a world-class winery may be the norm for you. You appreciate the heart and soul that is poured into every sip, and you value the distinct wine regions, with their unique climates and terroirs, that give each vintage its own unique flavor.
But there is something special about planning the absolute best wine vacations – walking through the vineyards, tasting wines produced on-property, hearing the history of the vineyards and stories of the winemakers. There are beautiful wineries all over the country, but we’ve selected some of the top wine vacations in the USA that should be added to any wine lover’s bucket list.
Napa Valley, California – Best Wine Vacations
Napa Valley earns its spot on the list of the top wine vacations. Just 60 miles North of San Francisco, it is one of the most well-known and most beautiful wine regions in the world. With over 400 wineries, Napa also has the highest concentration of wineries of any county in the U.S. and is one of the top wine-producing regions in the world.
Napa County’s diverse soils, climate, and topography are responsible for world-renowned wines produced from over three dozen types of grapes. If Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon is your favorite, Napa is the place to visit. Excellent Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs are also produced in Napa.
Beyond exceptional wines, Napa County is famous for its picturesque scenery, with rolling hills and valleys blanketed in stunning vineyards. A private sunrise hot air balloon ride will showcase the beauty of Napa Valley. Or set out on a luxurious scenic excursion on the Napa Valley Wine Train, one of the best wine tours of Napa Valley. Indulge in a four-course gourmet meal and wine tasting as you journey through wine country, stopping at Napa’s most celebrated wineries along the way.
Visit the iconic Castello di Amorosa, a winery set in an enchanting Tuscan-style castle, or hit the Silverado Trail by car (or bike) to enjoy tastings at a few of the over 40 wineries there, including household name Robert Mondavi, which is right down the road. Play winemaker for the day at Conn Creek, with their one-of-a-kind Barrel Blending Experience. Then pay a visit to Napa's oldest wine caves at Schramsberg Vineyards.
To make the most of your visit to wine country, indulge in Napa Valley’s many luxury dining and spa services. Enjoy dinner at The Charter Oak or Ad Hoc, take a wine class at the Culinary Institute of America, stomp grapes during harvest season, or journey on a food and wine pairing tour. Then retreat to your private Napa Valley luxury vacation home to relax and unwind.
Sonoma Valley, California – Best Wine Vacations
Stretching from the Pacific Coast to the Mayacamas Mountains, Sonoma Valley boasts 60,000 acres of vineyards and more than 400 wineries. About an hour from neighboring Napa, Sonoma Valley has approximately the same number of wineries but is often considered more low-key and spread out, making it ideal for a wine trip that’s more laid-back but still upscale.
You’ll find plenty of wine varietals, including specialties like Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and everything from scenic estate vineyards with panoramic views to elegant urban tasting rooms.
A must-visit on any luxe wine vacation is Francis Ford Coppola Winery, owned by the renowned film director. Not only does it boast more than 40 award-winning wines, but it also features a full-service restaurant, two swimming pools, a movie gallery, and bocce courts. Another of the most beautiful wineries in Sonoma County is St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, an elegant Tuscan estate set amidst breathtaking vineyards and mountains. Enjoy a pedal-powered trolley tour through the heart of the vineyard.
Experience the best of wine country on a guided bike tour of Sonoma County. Sample delicious cuisine at top-notch restaurants, such as the elaborate multi-course meals at sustainability-focused SingleThread in Healdsburg and the locally-sourced cuisine at Barndiva’s stunning garden terrace.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
One of the most luxurious destinations for wine lovers is the Willamette Valley, a 150-mile stretch of beautiful mountains, valleys, lakes, and rivers between Portland and Eugene, Oregon. Beyond its world-class wineries and scenic vineyards, the Willamette Valley beckons visitors to explore nature, with endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking and biking to fishing and rafting.
The largest American Viticultural Area, or AVA, in Oregon with 700 wineries, it’s one of the world’s top-producing regions for Pinot Noir due to its mild, cool, moist climate. Yamhill County in particular has over 80 wineries, the third highest concentration of any county in the U.S.
Spend the day at a sophisticated manor like King Estate, a picturesque organic vineyard with a deep commitment to sustainability. Enjoy elevated farm-to-table cuisine sourced from the estate at the on-site restaurant. Part of the Eugene Wine Trail, you can bike from this winery to several others along low-traffic country roads.
Visit Domaine Serene, an elegant Mediterranean winery with scenic views and exceptional Pinot Noir, the award-winning tasting room at Stoller Family Estate, or Willamette Valley Vineyards’ enchanting tasting rooms. And with plenty of incredible restaurants boasting farm-to-table cuisine crafted by James Beard award-winning chefs, your taste buds won’t be disappointed.
Finger Lakes, New York – Best Wine Vacations
Another top wine vacation destination is the Finger Lakes. Located in upstate New York, five hours from New York City, the Finger Lakes region is the state’s largest wine producer, known for its Riesling and Gewurztraminer. And with over 10 lakes, beautiful waterfalls, charming towns, and over 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes region is a luxury destination for wine lovers.
Out of the many lakes in the region, Cayuga, Keuka, Canandaigua, and Seneca have the highest density of vineyards, with Seneca boasting the most wineries of any other lake in the Finger Lakes. On the Seneca Wine Trail, the largest wine trail in the Finger Lakes, you can sample the area’s signature ice wines – the grapes are left on the vine into the fall and winter, allowing them to freeze and raise the sugar content.
On Seneca, Fox Run Vineyards is a premium boutique winery offering beautiful views of the lake. Also along the Seneca Wine Trail are the Tuscan tasting room and terrace of Ventosa Vineyards, the iconic Belhurst Castle and Winery with its waterfront restaurant, and Three Brothers Wineries and Estates, which boasts a winery, brewery, and distillery all on one beautiful property.
For an unforgettable meal, reserve one of fourteen seats at F.L.X. Table, an intimate upscale restaurant serving regional cuisine paired with wines selected by chef and master sommelier Christopher Bates.
On Keuka, visit Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery to sample their highly acclaimed wines from sparkling to rich red in the beautiful Eugenia’s Garden and various outdoor seating areas. Also on Keuka is the popular Bully Hill Vineyards, offering stunning panoramic lake views from high on the hill and a full-service restaurant.
Beyond the wineries, indulge in a luxurious spa service at the Inns of Aurora, hike through the gorge and over and under breathtaking waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park, or visit the iconic Corning Museum of Glass. There is plenty to do in the Finger Lakes, making it one of the best wine vacations on the East Coast.
Texas Hill Country, Texas – Best Wine Vacations
When you think of Texas, chances are you don’t think of wineries. But the beautiful countryside of Texas Hill Country is one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the U.S. Wide open skies showcase nine million acres of rolling hills, rivers, lakes, and granite and limestone outcroppings, making a beautiful setting to enjoy the world-class, award-winning wines produced in the region.
And its central location between San Antonio and Austin makes it easily accessible for those who want a taste of Texas Wine Country. Enjoy Austin’s mouthwatering BBQ, then head west to the countryside to sample the region’s best wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Albarino, Petite Sirah, and Chenin Blanc.
Many of the best wineries in Texas Hill Country are located in and around Fredericksburg, the unofficial capital of Texas Wine Country. There are more than 50 wineries in Fredericksburg (and over 100 in the Texas Hill Country AVA).
On Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, several wineries are located right along the highway, so the best wine tours in Fredericksburg are able to easily guide guests from one winery to the next.
And in the charming town of Fredericksburg, you’ll find plenty of things to do – elegant shops and boutiques, a variety of fine dining options, art galleries, museums, spas, and fun entertainment and nightlife. Just outside of town, hike, bike, and stroll through wildflowers in the spring.
For a luxury wine-tasting experience, visit the beautiful modern tasting room at William Chris Vineyards, where walls of windows put the vineyard and countryside on full display. The Spanish Mission-style tasting room at Barons Creek Vineyards, the Tuscan-inspired estate at Grape Creek Vineyards, and the dramatic glass tasting room of Heath Sparkling Wines are also must-visit wineries for a touch of luxury in Texas Hill Country.
Charlottesville, Virginia – Best Wine Vacations
If you’ve never been to Charlottesville, Virginia, you’re missing out on one of the most luxurious small cities in the U.S. and the beautiful countryside that surrounds it.
Charlottesville is an area rich in history, home to the University of Virginia, the homes of James Monroe and James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Estate. In fact, the Monticello Wine Trail, made up of 40 wineries that have all been inspired by Jefferson’s vision of winemaking, is considered the “Birthplace of American Wine.”
Take a private Monticello Wine Tour to make the most of your experience, and be sure to include Jefferson Vineyards and Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards on your list.
Jefferson Vineyards is located where Jefferson dreamed of planting his own vineyard. Enjoy music in the garden and a glass of one of Virginia’s premier Viognier wines.
And don’t leave without a visit to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, a unique, elegant experience for discerning travelers. Taste fine boutique wines paired with elevated cuisine crafted from local, fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from the vineyard and garden.
If you have beer lovers in your group, consider a few stops along the Charlottesville Ale Trail as well – a collection of craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries in the area.
Charlottesville is one of the best cities for wine tasting, but you’ll also find a high density of amazing restaurants and bars waiting to be discovered. Not only is it home to more than 40 wineries, but Charlottesville is also the gateway to Shenandoah National Park, beckoning visitors to explore cascading waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and abundant wildlife on over 200,000 acres. Explore the countryside on horseback, or kayak along the Rivanna River, just minutes from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.
The small-town charm, abundance of arts, culture, and history, and surrounding natural beauty will sweep you off your feet. It’s one of our favorite places for a wine vacation.
Best Wine Vacations
If you love savoring a good vintage in a luxurious tasting room, or believe that the flavor of the wine is enhanced by a stroll through the vineyard or conversation with the winemaker, then planning a trip to one of the best wine destinations in the U.S. should be next on your list.
A visit to any of America’s best wine regions includes a bucolic wine country setting, stunning vineyards and modern tasting rooms, highly-acclaimed wines, plenty of upscale dining options, abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation, and inviting small towns to explore. All of this earns these luxurious destinations reputations for the best wine vacations – but also makes them places where there is so much more to discover than just the wine.
Be sure to stay long enough to discover it all. Browse our collection of luxury vacation rentals to begin planning the best wine vacation.