Take a Vino-Themed Vacation in One of the USA’s Top Wine Regions - Full-Time Travel

Take a Vino-Themed Vacation in One of the USA’s Top Wine Regions

Take a Vino-Themed Vacation in One of the USA’s Top Wine Regions

By Kimberly Peiffer

Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or a wine-tasting rookie, there is a little something for everyone in wine country, and you don’t need to travel all the way to Tuscany to have an authentic experience. Home to over 10,000 wineries and nearly one million acres of grape-bearing land, the United States produces some of the best wines in the world. From the mouth-watering Chardonnays of Napa Valley to the delicious Zinfandels of Paso Robles, American vineyards are more esteemed than ever. What better way to learn the ins and outs of the winemaking process, from grape stomping to harvesting, than a vino-themed vacation? 

By Luke Hoddle

Finger Lakes, NY

For East Coasters, the gorgeous region of the Finger Lakes is a hop, skip and a jump away (read: less than a five-hour drive northwest from Manhattan). Known for its Rieslings and lighter reds (think Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc varietals), the Finger Lakes region has a surprisingly large amount of turf to explore; the area boasts well over 100 wineries, situated close to some of the larger lakes of the region including Cayuga, Keuka and Seneca Lakes. Family-owned Ravines Wines Cellars on Keuka offers expansive views of the stunning surrounding lakes and a classic winemaking experience you’ll never forget. Meanwhile, Wagner Vineyards over on Seneca is a 250-acre estate winery that is a dream come true for wine-lovers, marrying rich history and an expansive tasting offering. 

Texas Hill Country, Texas

Texas may not instantly spring to mind when thinking of vineyards, but scattered in between sleepy cattle ranches and little historic towns you’ll find the Lone Star State’s best kept (vino) secret: Texas Hill Country. Just a 1.5-hour drive from Austin, you’ll roll right into the glorious Texan terrain that houses no less than 50 unique wineries (Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandels are the star grapes here, in addition to some white grape varietals-Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay). Book a half or full-day wine tour and let the locals give you the inside scoop. Definitely leave time to experience Fredericksburg – the epicenter of Texas Wine Country – including grape stomping, plenty of live music, and a dip in one the area’s famous swimming holes (Jacob’s Well is a tried-and-true favorite). 

Paso Robles, CA

What could be more picturesque than a wine region that offers expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, coupled with the vistas of rugged mountainsides? Enter Paso Robles. Located smack dab between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso, which is known for its Zinfandels, Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines, has a little bit of everything, including a charming downtown area and plenty of attractions. Don’t miss The Hearst Castle at San Simeon Bay, which offers two distinct tasting offerings at its Ranch Winery: one at the San Simeon Tasting Room and a second at the Paso Robles Estate Vineyard. Another must-visit is Adelaida’s Estate Vineyards, a patchwork of farms minutes from downtown Paso, spanning over 2,000 acres of land. 

Long Shadows Winery in the Walla Walla Valley

Walla Walla Valley, Washington 

Four hours east of both Seattle and Portland, pin dropped in the Blue Mountains in Southeast Washington, is the burgeoning town of Walla Walla. This pastoral land is dotted with over 100 local vineyards – each one seemingly more charming than the next. Imbibe in a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Malbec at some of the area’s rock-star wineries, including Sleight of Hand Cellars for a funky, unique wine tasting experience, or Long Shadows Winery for some of the most advanced wine-making facilities in the region. In between tastings (or at sunset) book a hot air balloon ride over the Blue Mountains for a true Kodak moment, and be sure to leave plenty of time to explore the unique town and visit the farmer’s markets (you won’t leave Walla Walla hungry, that’s a promise). 

Willamette Valley, Oregon

If an abundance of options sounds like the dream to you, head to Willamette Valley, where over 500 wineries are snuggled among the beautiful Oregon countryside. Pinot Noir lovers will be in heaven; the valley – a short hour-long drive from Portland – is one of the world’s premier Pinot Noir producing regions. When it comes to winery experiences, Willamette Valley has a little bit of everything to offer. Book a private tour with the owner at Bells Up Winery, or head to Lenne Estate to test your palate at a blind tasting. However, vineyards aren’t the only thing this state has in spades; from hiking to biking to kayaking, outdoor activities also reign supreme (a perfect balance for all that wine tasting). 

Napa Valley | By Ugi K

Napa Valley, CA

Is it the world-class wineries known for crafting more than three different wine grape varieties, from Albariño to Zinfandel? Is it the smattering of endless accommodation offerings, from luxury resorts to enchanting bed and breakfasts? Or perhaps it’s the world-renowned cuisine from some of the most celebrated chefs in the country. All of the above and more make Napa one of the most quintessential wine country trips of all time. Art lovers will love a visit to Hall Winery, a gorgeous property designed by a husband-and-wife team with a penchant for art collecting. For one of the most regal tasting experiences, head straight to Domaine Carneros, a stunning estate founded by the noble family behind Champagne Taittinger. Located right next door to the legendary Beringer Estate Winery you’ll find Alila Napa Valley, a luxury hotel with delicious farm-to-table restaurant, opulent spa and a top-rated bicycle tour that pairs wine tasting with outdoor adventure. 

Sonoma, CA

Just 45 miles from San Francisco you’ll find California’s other famous wine-tasting region. Sonoma Valley is studded with award-winning wineries, cozy bed & breakfasts, luxury spas and an abundance of state and regional parks – 13,000 acres of them to be precise. But that’s only the beginning – farm-to-table restaurants, art galleries and one-of-kind boutiques make it all the more special. Many visitors have a tough time choosing between Napa and Sonoma, and many choose to visit both during their vacation to solve that problem; after all they're only 20 minutes away from each other. 

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen