15 of the Best Wineries in America

by Megan DuBois

15 of the Best Wineries in America

by Megan DuBois

Visiting a vineyard is a great way to experience a new destination: Bask in the scenic landscape, while sipping something representative of the locale. While there are thousands of wineries across the country, and grapes that produce dozens of varietals, these are some of the best and most unique the U.S. has to offer.

Visiting a vineyard is a great way to experience a new destination: Bask in the scenic landscape, while sipping something representative of the locale. While there are thousands of wineries across the country, and grapes that produce dozens of varietals, these are some of the best and most unique the U.S. has to offer.

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Grape Creek Vineyards
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Greenhill Winery and Vineyards, Middleburg, Virginia

Greenhill Winery and Vineyards is set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour outside of Washington, D.C. The 128-acre property has been visited by former First Lady Michelle Obama, and their sparkling wine was given to nominees at the 2016 Academy Awards. The adults-only winery has a beautiful tasting room and historic Club House, built in 1762.

Greenhill Winery and Vineyards is set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour outside of Washington, D.C. The 128-acre property has been visited by former First Lady Michelle Obama and their sparkling wine was given to nominees at the 2016 Academy Awards. The adults-only winery has a beautiful tasting room and historic Club House, built in 1762.

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Chateau Montelena: Napa Valley, California

You can’t talk about wine in the United States without Napa Valley. One of the region's most beautiful — and infamous — is Chateau Montelena, best known for winning the 1976 Judgement of Paris. During the blind taste test by top French chefs, the California reds and whites historically beat out their French counterparts. Visitors can try their wines in a castle-like tasting room, explore Chinese gardens, and the valley around Mount. St. Helena.

You can’t talk about wine in the United States without Napa Valley. One of the region's most beautiful — and infamous — is Chateau Montelena, best known for winning the 1976 Judgement of Paris. During the blind taste test by top French chefs, the California reds and whites historically beat out their French counterparts. Visitors can try their wines in a castle-like tasting room, explore Chinese gardens, and the valley around Mount. St. Helena.

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Vivác Winery: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Vivác Winery is owned by brothers Jesse and Chris Padberg who, in 1998, set out to make the best wine possible and have a good time doing it. After more than 20 years, that statement has become a reality. Their winery sits 6,000 feet above sea level — making it one of the world’s highest-altitude wineries — and spans three microclimates. This accounts for Vivác's standout riesling, pinot noir, and petit verdot.

Vivác Winery is owned by brothers Jesse and Chris Padberg who, in 1998, set out “to make the best wine possible and have a good time doing it.” After more than 20 years, that statement has become a reality. Their winery sits 6,000 feet above sea level — making it one of the world’s highest-altitude wineries — and spans three microclimates. This accounts for Vivác's standout riesling, pinot noir, and petit verdot.

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Oliver Winery: Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana’s oldest and largest winery is nestled in the rolling hills of Bloomington, where a unique climate allows winemakers to experiment with new wines and growing processes. Oliver Winery is best known for its fruit-forward Moscato, with flavors like cherry, blueberry, and lemon. While visiting, you can enjoy a guided wine tasting or a picnic in the vineyard.

Indiana’s oldest and largest winery is nestled in the rolling hills of Bloomington, where a unique climate allows winemakers to experiment with new wines and growing processes. Oliver Winery is best known for its fruit-forward Moscato, with flavors like cherry, blueberry, and lemon. While visiting, you can enjoy a guided wine tasting or a picnic in the vineyard.

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The Dog and Oyster Vineyard: Irvington, Virginia

There are more than 300 wineries in the state of Virginia, but the Dog and Oyster Vineyard is unlike any other: It occupies one of three places in the world where grape vines are planted alongside oyster beds. Consuming the same same water, the wine and oysters here make for a harmonious, rarefied pairing that visitors can try for themselves. 

There are more than 300 wineries in the state of Virginia, but The Dog and Oyster Vineyard is unlike any other: It occupies one of three places in the world where grape vines are planted alongside oyster beds. Consuming the same same water, the wine and oysters here make for a harmonious, rarefied pairing that visitors can try for themselves. 

Tasting Room
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Sunshine Mill Winery and Artisan Plaza: The Dalles, Oregon

Before it was a winery, Sunshine Mill was a working wheat mill that made biscuits and Cheez-Its. The restored building is now home to two wineries and a tasting room, owned and operated by James and Molli Martin. In addition to the wine, guests can enjoy one-of-a-kind artwork and antique relics, like the original power motor designed by Thomas Edison. The outdoor area has fire pits and on weekends becomes a drive-in movie theater (films are projected onto the grain silo).

Before it was a winery, Sunshine Mill was a working wheat mill that made biscuits and Cheez-Its. The restored building is now home to two different wineries and a tasting room, owned and operated by James and Molli Martin. In addition to the wine, guests can enjoy one-of-a-kind artwork and antique relics, like the original power motor designed by Thomas Edison. The outdoor area has fire pits and on weekends becomes a drive-in movie theater (films are projected onto the grain silo).

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Blue Elk Vineyard: North East, Maryland

One of Maryland’s newest additions, Blue Elk Vineyard, opened during the pandemic. The winery is located on the Bohemia Overlook, which has waterfront views and a 1930s barn-turned-tasting room. Visitors can book private tastings (offered by flight, glass, or bottle). Its signature wine, Patriot, pays tribute to American Revolution battles that took place nearby, the story of which is printed on the label.

One of Maryland’s newest additions, Blue Elk Vineyard, opened during the pandemic. The winery is located on the Bohemia Overlook, which has waterfront views and a 1930s barn-turned-tasting room. Visitors can book private tastings (offered by flight, glass, or bottle). Its signature wine, Patriot, pays tribute to American Revolution battles that took place nearby, the story of which is printed on the label.

Exterior
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Inspire Moore Winery: Naples, New York

Inspire Moore Winery is dedicated to sustainable winemaking. While onsite, visitors can learn how they compost leftover grape pomace, make recyclable corks, and screen-print bottles in lieu of paper labels. As for tasting, the winery produces more than 12 varietals, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Zweigelt, and Merlot.

Inspire Moore Winery is dedicated to sustainable winemaking .While onsite, visitors can learn how they compost leftover grape pomace, make recyclable corks, and screen-print bottles in lieu of paper labels. As for tasting, the winery produces more than 12 varietals, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Zweigelt, and Merlot.

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Divine Llama Vineyards: East Bend, North Carolina

In North Carolina's Yadkin Valley Appellation, Divine Llama Vineyards is home to award-winning wines and a two-mile llama trek near Miller Creek. Llama treks occur most weekends except during summer. After bonding with the adorable animals, you can try wine from one of four grape varieties cultivated on site: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonel, and Traminette. Divine Llama offers 11 types of wine, ranging from dry red to sweet white.

In North Carolina's Yadkin Valley Appellation, Divine Llama Vineyards is home to award-winning wines and a two-mile llama trek near Miller Creek. Llama treks occur most weekends except during summer. After bonding with the adorable animals, you can try wine from one of four grape varieties cultivated on site: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonel, and Traminette. Divine Llama offers 11 types of wine, ranging from dry red to sweet white.

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Volcano Winery, Volcano, Hawaii

Volcano Winery was founded in 1986 by a retired veterinarian who made wine and beer for fun. The winery sits at 4,000 feet above sea level on the lava-rich soil surrounding Mauna Loa, one of the largest and most active volcanoes on the planet. After more than 30 years, Volcano's unique terroir makes for wines that are just as unique, including experimental blends like Guava Wine and Macadamia Nut Honey Wine. The tasting room is open almost every day.

Volcano Winery was founded in 1986 by a retired veterinarian who made wine and beer for fun. The winery sits at 4,000 feet above sea level on the lava-rich soil surrounding Mauna Loa, one of the largest and most active volcanoes on the planet. After more than 30 years, Volcano's unique terroir makes for wines that are just as unique, including experimental blends like Guava Wine and Macadamia Nut Honey Wine. The tasting room is open almost every day.

 

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Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards: Clermont, Florida

Just a few miles from Florida's theme parks is Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards — one of the state's largest wineries. Visitors can take a tour of the 80-acre property, which hosts regular events, and learn how Florida produces wine that's different from what you'll find anywhere else in the country. Afterward, you can do a tasting overlooking the vineyards.

Just a few miles away from Florida's theme parks is Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards — one of the state's largest wineries. Visitors can take a tour of the 80-acre property, which hosts regular events, and learn how Florida produces wine that's different from what you'll find anywhere else in the country. Afterward, you can do a tasting overlooking the vineyards.

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Snow Farm Vineyard: South Hero, Vermont

Snow Farm Vineyard lies on an island in the middle of Lake Champlain, 30 miles south of the Canadian border. The microclimate in this area is similar to that of Burgundy, France, which nurtures the cool-climate grapes used for dessert wines. Each bunch of grapes is hand-picked in December, and in spring the vines are pruned to increase the next production. 

Snow Farm Vineyard lies on an island in the middle of Lake Champlain, 30 miles south of the Canadian border. The microclimate in this area is similar to that of Burgundy, France, which nurtures the cool-climate grapes used for dessert wines. Each bunch of grapes is hand-picked in December, and in spring the vines are pruned to increase next production. 

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Sunset Hills Vineyard: Purcellville, Virginia

Take in views of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains at Sunset Hills Vineyard, located an hour outside D.C. The historic farm-turned-winery is keen on sustainability: It's equipped with 245 solar panels, which supply 75 percent of Sunset Hills' operational energy. Head to the tasting room — housed in a restored 140-year-old Amish barn — to sample the goods. A portion of sales are redirected to various charities that benefit the local community.

Take in views of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains at Sunset Hills Vineyard, located an hour outside D.C. The historic farm-turned-winery is keen on sustainability: It's equipped with 245 solar panels, which supply 75 percent of Sunset Hills' operational energy. Head to the tasting room — housed in a restored 140-year-old Amish barn — to sample the goods. A portion of sales are redirected to various charities that benefit the local community.

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Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery: Dahlonega, Georgia

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery is situated in the Georgia Mountains, some 60 miles outside of Atlanta. The winery is often compared to Napa Valley for its sprawling rows of vines and extensive (and impressive) list of vintages. Inside, the antique wine library and cellar houses 19th century French wine artifacts. While the wine is the star here, stay for lunch or dinner — which of course comes with the perfect pairing.

Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery is situated in the Georgia Mountains, some 60 miles outside of Atlanta. The winery is often compared to Napa Valley for its sprawling rows of vines and extensive (and impressive) list of vintages. Inside, the antique wine library and cellar houses 19th century French wine artifacts. While the wine is the star here, stay for lunch or dinner — which of course comes with the perfect pairing.

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Grape Creek Vineyards, Fredericksburg, Texas

Grape Creek Vineyards offers a Tuscan wine experience without an international flight. Book a tram ride around the estate, and step into the cellar where the barrels of wine are stored for aging. Then have a private tasting of its dry reds, or pop over to its companion winery dedicated to sparkling wines. Afterward, post up in the restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the vineyard. 

Grape Creek Vineyards offers a Tuscan wine experience without an international flight. Book a tram ride around the estate, and step into the cellar where the barrels of wine are stored for aging. Then have a private tasting of its dry reds, or pop over to its companion winery dedicated to sparkling wines. Afterward, post up in the restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the vineyard. 

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