11 Under-the-Radar US Wine Regions

by Lauren Dana

11 Under-the-Radar US Wine Regions

by Lauren Dana

US wine hotspots are popping up all over the place, from Cape Cod to Seattle and everywhere in between. If you're looking to escape the crowds, venture outside the box and step into one of these often-overlooked wine regions.

US wine hotspots are popping up all over the place, from Cape Cod to Seattle and everywhere in between. If you're looking to escape the crowds, venture outside the box and step into one of these often-overlooked wine regions.

11
Vineyard by San Francisco Bay area / Andrei Stanescu/iStock
Paso Robles, CA
1 of 11
Paso Robles, California

You've undoubtedly heard of Sonoma and Napa, but California's central coast is chock-a-block with wineries and vineyards aplenty. In fact, Paso Robles is the fastest growing wine region in California. Featuring complimentary tastings and scenic gardens, Castoro Cellars is a must-visit. Be sure to also stop by Donati Family Vineyard for Bordeaux and bocce ball. 

Read more: 5 New Ways to Go Wine Tasting in Napa

You've undoubtedly heard of Sonoma and Napa, but California's central coast is chock-a-block with wineries and vineyards aplenty. In fact, Paso Robles is the fastest growing wine region in California. Featuring complimentary tastings and scenic gardens, Castoro Cellars is a must-visit. Be sure to also stop by Donati Family Vineyard for Bordeaux and bocce ball. 

Read more: 5 New Ways to Go Wine Tasting in Napa

Grand Valley, CO
2 of 11
Grand Valley, Colorado

Grand Valley is viewed as the Colorado wine country epicenter, and with good reason: More than 80% of the state's grapes are grown here. To enjoy the majestic scenery up close, take a spin on The Fruit and Wine Byway, a 25-mile bike and car loop that follows the Colorado River and stops at dozens of wineries. Then, venture out further to Carlson Vineyards, where you can enjoy their signature Palisade Peach wine. If cycling isn't your thing, don't worry: There are many car services to choose from, like American Spirit Shuttle

Read more: A Guide to Vail, Colorado in Shoulder Season

Grand Valley is viewed as the Colorado wine country epicenter, and with good reason: More than 80% of the state's grapes are grown here. To enjoy the majestic scenery up close, take a spin on The Fruit and Wine Byway, a 25-mile bike and car loop that follows the Colorado River and stops at dozens of wineries. Then, venture out further to Carlson Vineyards, where you can enjoy their signature Palisade Peach wine. If cycling isn't your thing, don't worry: There are many car services to choose from, like American Spirit Shuttle. 

Read more: A Guide to Vail, Colorado in Shoulder Season

Read more: A Guide to Vail, Colorado in Shoulder Season

San Francisco, CA
3 of 11
The Bay Area, California

It's not every day that you can bike to countless wineries in an afternoon…in a city. But, in Oakland and Alameda, you can hit over a dozen urban wineries. Don't let the city surroundings fool you, though: These wineries are pumping out award-winning sips in all kinds of varietals, from Malbec and Grenache Blanc to Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Take your own bike and pedal to some of our favorite wineries, like Cerruti Cellars and Urban Legend.

Read more: What to See and Do in San Francisco

It's not every day that you can bike to countless wineries in an afternoon…in a city. But, in Oakland and Alameda, you can hit over a dozen urban wineries. Don't let the city surroundings fool you, though: These wineries are pumping out award-winning sips in all kinds of varietals, from Malbec and Grenache Blanc to Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Take your own bike and pedal to some of our favorite wineries, like Cerruti Cellars and Urban Legend.

Cape Cod, MA
4 of 11
Coastal New England

Despite challenging climates and soils, New England has actually been producing wine for centuries (who knew?). This particular nine-winery Coastal Wine Trail winds from Cape Cod through the south coast of Massachusetts, down through Rhode Island, and Connecticut. If you're a white wine lover, you're in luck: the region is known for its white and sparkling wines due to the cool grape growing conditions. Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod is an ideal starting point. Here, you can mix mornings on the beach with afternoons at the vineyard.

Read more: Here's What's Worth the Splurge in Newport, RI 

Despite challenging climates and soils, New England has actually been producing wine for centuries (who knew?). This particular nine-winery Coastal Wine Trail winds from Cape Cod through the south coast of Massachusetts, down through Rhode Island, and Connecticut. If you're a white wine lover, you're in luck: the region is known for its white and sparkling wines due to the cool grape growing conditions. Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod is an ideal starting point. Here, you can mix mornings on the beach with afternoons at the vineyard.

 

Read more: Here's What's Worth the Splurge in Newport, RI 

Blue Ridge Mountains
5 of 11
Yadkin Valley, North Carolina

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Yadkin Valley is considered the heart of North Carolina wine country. Plus, the rolling mountains, pleasant climate, and rich, varied vines make this region ideal for any getaway. Here, you'll find light, sweet, and highly antioxidant wines produced by the Muscadine grape. Some of our favorite wineries include Raddaldini Vineyards, Laurel Gray Vineyards, and Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery.

Read more: Asheville, NC Is The Coolest Town You've Not Visited

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Yadkin Valley is considered the heart of North Carolina wine country. Plus, the rolling mountains, pleasant climate, and rich, varied vines make this region ideal for any getaway. Here, you'll find light, sweet, and highly antioxidant wines produced by the Muscadine grape. Some of our favorite wineries include Raddaldini Vineyards, Laurel Gray Vineyards, and Sanders Ridge Vineyard and Winery.

Read more: Asheville, NC Is The Coolest Town You've Not Visited

Traverse City, MI
6 of 11
Northern Michigan

You'd be surprised to learn that Michigan is actually the fourth-largest grape producer in the U.S. Madonna's dad has even set up shop here with his own Ciccone Vineyards -- so you know the area has something special to offer. While Grand Traverse Tours offers customized, day-long guided tours, you can also embark on your own adventure through the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail. A few of our favorites include Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Peninsula Cellars

Read more: Explore the Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan

You'd be surprised to learn that Michigan is actually the fourth-largest grape producer in the U.S. Madonna's dad has even set up shop here with his own Ciccone Vineyards -- so you know the area has something special to offer. While Grand Traverse Tours offers customized, day-long guided tours, you can also embark on your own adventure through the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail. A few of our favorites include Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Peninsula Cellars. 

Read more: Explore the Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan

 Umpqua Valley, OR
7 of 11
Southern Oregon

While Oregon's Willamette Valley is already well-known in the wine world, the Umpqua Valley and the Rogue River Valley are still (pretty much) undiscovered. Surprisingly, though, the Umpqua Valley is actually home to Oregon's first winery, HillCrest Vineyard (founded in 1961). Start off your trip with a private guided tour around local wineries with Main Street Tours. And, if you're up for the adventure, you can design your own tour and stop by several award-winning wineries, including Abacela, Quady North, and RoxyAnn

Read more: What to Do in Portland, Oregon

While Oregon's Willamette Valley is already well-known in the wine world, the Umpqua Valley and the Rogue River Valley are still (pretty much) undiscovered. Surprisingly, though, the Umpqua Valley is actually home to Oregon's first winery, HillCrest Vineyard (founded in 1961). Start off your trip with a private guided tour around local wineries with Main Street Tours. And, if you're up for the adventure, you can design your own tour and stop by several award-winning wineries, including Abacela, Quady North, and RoxyAnn. 

Read more: What to Do in Portland, Oregon

Texas Hill Country
8 of 11
Texas Hill Country

Deep in the heart of Texas, (north of San Antonio and west of Austin), oenophiles can find the state's largest wine trail, which is home to over 30 wineries. Texas Wine Tours offers two options for thirsty visitors; its flagship tour is a full-day affair that visits some of the area's best wineries. However, those who don't want to dedicate a full day to a wine adventure should consider the company's shorter, four-hour tour. We also recommend visiting Lost Maples Winery at Polvadeau Vineyards, where you can enjoy a tasting of 12 wines for just $16. Afterwards, buy a bottle and lounge by the pond as you take in the pristine views of the surrounding hill country.  

Read more: Exploring The Texas Hill Country River Region

Deep in the heart of Texas, (north of San Antonio and west of Austin), oenophiles can find the state's largest wine trail, which is home to over 30 wineries. Texas Wine Tours offers two options for thirsty visitors; its flagship tour is a full-day affair that visits some of the area's best wineries. However, those who don't want to dedicate a full day to a wine adventure should consider the company's shorter, four-hour tour. We also recommend visiting Lost Maples Winery at Polvadeau Vineyards, where you can enjoy a tasting of 12 wines for just $16. Afterwards, buy a bottle and lounge by the pond as you take in the pristine views of the surrounding hill country.  

Read more: Exploring The Texas Hill Country River Region

Monticello, VA
9 of 11
Albemarle County, Virginia

Albermarle County's lavish scenery and historical sites make tours all the more charming. Most area wineries are small, family-owned businesses and the region is reliant on wine tours to bring in revenue. Thankfully, visitors have plenty of vineyards to choose from (there are dozens of them within the region). Here, history buffs can learn more about Thomas Jefferson's legacy by embarking on the Monticello Wine Tour, which features a cluster of over 30 wineries. 

Read more: What's Worth the Splurge in Richmond, VA

Albermarle County's lavish scenery and historical sites make tours all the more charming. Most area wineries are small, family-owned businesses and the region is reliant on wine tours to bring in revenue. Thankfully, visitors have plenty of vineyards to choose from (there are dozens of them within the region). Here, history buffs can learn more about Thomas Jefferson's legacy by embarking on the Monticello Wine Tour, which features a cluster of over 30 wineries. 

Read more: What's Worth the Splurge in Richmond, VA

 Bainbridge Island
10 of 11
Seattle, Washington

Washington State (particularly the surrounding Seattle area) has an impressively diverse collection of vineyards, winemaking styles, and grape varieties. Start off your trip with a visit to CadenceCairdeas, or Eight Bells Winery. We recommend booking a hotel along the Olympian Peninsula, which is home to several wineries; Bainbridge Island Vineyards & Winery and Whidbey Island Winery (two of our favorites) are also within close proximity. 

Read more: What to See and Do in Seattle

Washington State (particularly the surrounding Seattle area) has an impressively diverse collection of vineyards, winemaking styles, and grape varieties. Start off your trip with a visit to Cadence, Cairdeas, or Eight Bells Winery. We recommend booking a hotel along the Olympian Peninsula, which is home to several wineries; Bainbridge Island Vineyards & Winery and Whidbey Island Winery (two of our favorites) are also within close proximity. 

Read more: What to See and Do in Seattle

Snake River, ID
11 of 11
Snake River Valley, Idaho

Idaho's Snake River Valley AVA, which includes the state capital of Boise, is home to about a dozen wineries. Viognier, gewürztraminer, petit verdot, and cabernet franc are just a few of the varietals that grow here. Be sure to also pay a visit to Par Terre, Cinder, Telaya Wine Co, and 3100 Cellars (the latter two are both situated right along the Boise River). Each of these wineries offers excellent bottles and tastings at affordable prices.

Read more: How to Visit Idaho's Affordable, Up-and-Coming Wine Country

Idaho's Snake River Valley AVA, which includes the state capital of Boise, is home to about a dozen wineries. Viognier, gewürztraminer, petit verdot, and cabernet franc are just a few of the varietals that grow here. Be sure to also pay a visit to Par Terre, Cinder, Telaya Wine Co, and 3100 Cellars (the latter two are both situated right along the Boise River). Each of these wineries offers excellent bottles and tastings at affordable prices. 

Read more: How to Visit Idaho's Affordable, Up-and-Coming Wine Country

Up next...

Florida: Avoid the Crowds at These 10 Overlooked Beaches

Juno Beach, FL
Go Back
Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices