Where to Sip & Stay in the USA's Best Wine Regions - Full-Time Travel

Where to Sip & Stay in the USA’s Best Wine Regions

Where to Sip & Stay in the USA's Best Wine Regions

Full-Time Travel asked three wine experts for their favorite U.S. wine regions, what to sip while there, and where to stay nearby. You’re in good hands with these three: 

Mark Oldman, wine author, speaker, and presenter of the popular virtual wine seminars 

André Hueston Mack, sommelier, winemaker, and designer

Anthony Giglio: sommelier, journalist, and Wine Director for The American Express Centurion Global Lounge Network

The Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma

Sonoma, CA

Mark Oldman: If I ran Sonoma’s tourism board, I would use the motto, “Sonoma is for Lovers” – that is, lovers of world-class Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay, fine dining, scenic beauty, and a pace slower than that of Napa. I like to stay near the central square of Healdsburg, which is filled with gourmet markets, art galleries, and tasting bars. Nearby in Forestville, the Farmhouse Inn offers luxe country chic, its own Michelin-starred restaurant, and airy, comfortable rooms. Insider pick: make a reservation at the brand-new, photography-themed tasting room of Aperture Cellars, a new, Bordeaux-influenced winery from talented, young winemaker Jesse Katz.

Brooks winery, Willamette

Willamette Valley, OR

André Hueston Mack: Oregon’s Willamette Valley (pronounced will-AM-it) is the place that I source grapes for my own Maison Noir Wines, so it’s near and dear to my heart. In my opinion, the Valley is the best place to grow my favorite grape: Pinot Noir. It represents the best of both worlds – the fruit that you associate with Californian wines mixed with the terroir, (or taste of the land) that you associate with European wines. Antica Terra is my favorite place to visit. It’s by appointment only, so make sure you call ahead to reserve a spot and taste founder Maggie Harrison‘s world-renowned elixirs. Others to explore are Soléna Estate, Hiyu Farms, and Brooks. When it comes to accommodation, Atticus Hotel, located right in the heart of McMinnville town, right off the picturesque Main Street, is a gem.

Wolffer Estate, the Hamptons

Long Island, NY

Anthony Giglio: Long Island has a lot to offer visitors three out of four seasons a year. On the Northfork, I’ve long been a fan of Shinn Vineyards (which has its own accommodations on-site), Bedell Cellars, Anthony Nappa, Lenz, and Lieb Cellars. Rieslings are even more fruity here than they are up north thanks to warmer weather, and Merlot grapes ripen beautifully. On the South Fork of Long Island, in the Hamptons, Wolffer Estate makes terrific wines (they are especially loved for their rosé), and it’s a gorgeous property to visit.

Poolside at the Auberge du Soleil hotel, Napa

Napa, CA

Mark Oldman: I’ve been visiting Napa Valley since the tasting rooms were free and the traffic was only challenging on weekends. This is hallowed ground, the Hollywood of American wine production, home to vinous stars such as Joseph Phelps, Opus One, and Duckhorn as well as dozens of fine boutique wineries. One visit that never gets old is the Hess Collection, where you can enjoy delicious Mt. Veeder-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, then visit the on-site museum, featuring contemporary art from the likes of Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, and Franz Gertsch. Going north, stay at posh hotel Auberge du Soleil, and don’t miss drinks on the deck, with a spectacular view of the valley below.

Monticello, VA

Anthony Giglio: Back in 2012, I was asked to sit on a panel of judges to taste the best wines of Virginia, alongside legendary judge Steven Spurrier and Master of Wine Jay Youmans. I had little experience with Virginia wines, but their tourism board took us to several regions, one more surprising than the next. It was amazing to taste the blends they were making in the Bordeaux style, especially Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot for the reds, and Petit Manseng and Viognier for the whites, to name a few. I especially love the wines of Barboursville, Breaux, King Family, and Veritas, which has its own Farmhouse B&B next door.

Tablas Creek vineyard, Paso Robles

Paso Robles, CA


Mark Oldman: Halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso is known for its rustic beauty – what Napa must have been like fifty years ago. Its diversity of microclimates allows a wide range of grape types to be grown, but Paso’s forte is Rhone-style varieties such as Syrah and Grenache, as well as other warm-weather-loving grapes such as Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure to visit blue chip wineries Justin, Turley Wine Cellars, and Eberle. Also consider Tablas Creek, a joint venture with the acclaimed Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe producer Château Beaucastel, and home to a wide variety of quality wines and one of California’s best rosés.

Texas Hill Country, TX

Mark Oldman: Wine in Texas? You better believe it, pardner, and some of it merits a special trip. Fly into Austin, and to the north and west you have the wineries of Texas Hill Country. Chardonnay stands out in this hot, dry climate, as does Cabernet Sauvignon and warmth-loving grapes such as Syrah and Tempranillo, the latter being the constituent grape of Spain’s Rioja. Having presented many years at the Austin Food + Wine Festival, I have grown fond of Duchman, Becker, Pedernales, and Messina Hof. When your day is done, kick off your boots at the Sage Hill & Spa, a comfortable, centrally-located boutique hotel with a pool. Or make the drive back to Austin to Hotel Saint Cecilia, a stylish boutique hotel with a chic, rock-and-roll vibe.

"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