Napa and Sonoma may be the best known wine regions in the U.S., but they're far from the only ones. With more than 200 designated wine regions — also known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) — across the country, wine lovers looking to discover something new might want to look beyond the trails of the Golden State.
From North Carolina to Texas and New York to Washington State, America's lesser-known vineyards offer great opportunities to uncork new flavors — and experiences.
Lake Chelan, Washington
Not far from the rolling vineyards of Northern California lies the less famous but equally beautiful wine country of Washington State. The Lake Chelan area is known for its picturesque waterfront wineries and tasting rooms just east of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, where Native American and Italian immigrant communities have been making wine since at least the late 19th century.
Awarded its AVA designation in 2009, the region now hosts more than 20 wineries alongside its famed apple, cherry, peach and pear orchards. The local lake effect results in a long growing season, yielding bright, crisp wines that pair well with local fruits and cheeses.
In the land of Texas barbecue, Tex Mex and beer, you will also find a wine region that's worth checking out.With more than 50 vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms nestled among the small towns of the Texas Hill Country, the Lone Star State's signature wine trail offers plenty of Southwestern charm with its Viognier.
Most of the wine trail centers around Fredericksburg, a quaint German settlement bisected by a main avenue lined with shops, restaurants and tasting rooms. Under two hours from Austin or San Antonio, this is an easy day trip or a relaxing weekend destination.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
When it comes to New Mexico, local touchstones like turquoise, pottery and dried chiles might come to mind before wine. But with a wine trail stretching from its Mexican border almost all the way up to the Colorado state line, local reds and whites are abundant.
For a concentration of wineries, tasting rooms and vineyards with plenty of lodging options, Albuquerque is an ideal place to start; you'll find nearly a dozen tasting stops in the immediate area. While exploring the New Mexico Wine Trail, you can pair local bottles with local savory offerings like ancho chile dark chocolate and local lavender-infused honey.
Yadkin Valley, North Carolina
The Yadkin River Valley received its AVA designation in 2003, making it the first in North Carolina's history. However, the region has produced wine since at least 1896, when Stony Knoll Vineyards corked its first bottle.
While the region spans eight counties and more than a million acres, the Surry County Wine Trail is a great starting point, concentrating more than a dozen wineries. The surrounding area features several dozen more wineries, offering a range of European-style vintages and ambrosial wines made from local muscadine grapes.
Upper Hudson Valley, New York
One of the most recent additions to the realm of American wine production is the Upper Hudson AVA, which officially earned its designation in January, 2019. This new viticultural area offers (or will soon feature) some 20 wineries encompassing 65 acres of planted vines northwest of Albany.
The Upper Hudson's array of cold-weather wines can be experienced within three hours by car from New York City, Boston or Montreal.
Looking for additional wine regions to explore? More than 30 states have at least one AVA to visit.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Amy Wilde and is for informational purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.