When most people think about a wine tasting getaway, areas like Napa and Santa Barbara spring to mind. But surprisingly, there a number of lesser-known locations worth a look...er, a sip. From Colorado to Pennsylvania, their award-winning wines are plentiful and you’ll want to explore the regions by foot, by bike, even by snowshoe. Here are five destinations you never realized were ripe for a wine lover's getaway.
Grand Junction, CO
Rent a cruiser bike and pedal from winery to winery along the Fruit & Wine Byway for bold vinos and incredible views along the Colorado River, such as the majestic Grand Mesa. The Grand Valley boasts more than 20 wineries, including Plum Creek Cellars and Red Fox Cellars, both of which offer tastings of their sophisticated wines.
Home to the Urban Wine Trail in Texas, as well as GrapeFest -- the largest wine festival in the Southwest -- Grapevine is growing its reputation as a serious wine producer. Try the wine ice cream at Sloan & Williams Winery and be sure to write your name on the wall at Homestead Winery. Take a four-hour tour with Grapevine Wine Tours and don’t miss the seasonal wine trails, like the Hallo-Wine Trail in October.
Traverse City, MI
The wine scene in Traverse City may be less than 30 years old, but it’s quickly become recognized worldwide. Better known for its light whites, like Rieslings and Pinot Grigios, the region’s red varieties are growing in popularity. In winter, go for a wine-tasting tour on skis or snowshoes by way of the Leelanau Trail, which connects several wineries and cideries, including Blustone Vineyards and Forty-Five North Vineyard.
There’s so much more to Hershey than Hersheypark -- like the 15-plus award-winning wineries across Hershey Harrisonburg Wine Country. Try the Twisted Kiss, a popular, sweet wine blend at The Vineyard at Hershey or the Fly Boy Blush, a favorite at CrossWinds Winery. As a bonus, look for multiple wine festivals throughout the year, like the ValenWine’s Day Celebration, which pairs wines and chocolates.
Virginia has come into its own as a wine region and the Monticello Wine Trail in Charlottesville is one to explore. More than 30 wineries produce a bouquet of fruity and flavorful wines, including Barboursville Vineyards, which took home the coveted Monticello Cup this year for its 2010 Petit Verdot Reserve.