The nip of cooler nights and the smell of smoke and spice are beginning to fill the air. Much of the US is beginning to feel the seasons change and fall is upon us.
Fall is such a special time of the year. It is time to pull out the sweaters and ankle boots and cozy up to a warm coffee or mulled wine. It is time for football games and tailgating, hayrides and pumpkin spice everything.
Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year as we get to enjoy colors in a vibrant display from green to burgundy. What better way to enjoy the autumn show than sipping a glass of wine at a winery with friends! If you agree, read on as we discover 5 of the top wine regions to sip wine and admire the colors of autumn.
FINGER LAKES REGION - UPSTATE NY
Photo courtesy of Buttonwood Grove Winery
Recently voted Best Wine Region by USA Today 10 Best Readers Choice 2019 Awards, you will find delicious wines and gorgeous scenery in the Finger Lakes Region. Away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, you can really get away from it all. The rolling green countryside and finger-shaped lakes have a special aura as the orange and red colors reflect in the water. With over 200 wineries and 4 different wine trails in the region, mainly specializing in Rieslings, there are plenty to choose from. It makes for a great day or weekend of tastings and relaxing in this beautiful part of the country.
Best Time to View Fall Colors: Mid September through end of October.
Buttonwood Grove Winery is an award winning winery, having earned New York’s Governor’s Cup for their 2016 Riesling.
MONTICELLO - VIRGINIA
Photo courtesy of King Family Vineyard, via Glassdoor
Monticello, nestled along the Blue Ridge Mountains, is known as the estate that Thomas Jefferson designed, built and lived in. Jefferson was also known as a ‘great patron of wine’ and had envisioned to make wine out of the vineyards he planted at his Monticello Estate. Despite his efforts, he was not able to cultivate his grapes into wine during his lifetime. He would be proud to know that today, the Monticello Wine Trail consists of over 30 wineries and produce award winning wines honoring his dream. Monticello was also among the top 10 winners among USA Today 10 Best Readers Choice 2019 Awards for Best Wine Region.
Best Time to View Fall Colors: Mid-October through mid-November
King Family Vineyards is located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.This family-owned and operated vineyard just won Virginia’s esteemed Governor’s Cup for its 2014 Meritage.
LEELANAU PENINSULA - MICHIGANPhoto courtesy of Chateau Fontaine
Leelanau Peninsula is located in Northern Michigan and is surrounded by picturesque Lake Michigan, Lake Leelanau and Grand Traverse Bay. There are over 26 wineries in the region split into three different wine trails. The peninsula is perfectly situated to enjoy the many vineyards’ autumn splendor amongst the rolling hills that lead to the crystal waters. Having recently also appeared on USA Today’s 10 Best Readers Choice 2019 Awards for Best Wine Region, you can’t go wrong with these local wineries.
Best Time to View Fall Colors: Third week of September though third week of October.
Chateau Fontaine is located on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and offers among Michigan’s most awarded wines. Check out their extensive list of over 15 varietals.
SONOMA VALLEY - CALIFORNIA
Photo courtesy of Benzinger Family Winery
Sonoma Valley is located in Northern California and is part of America’s Premium Wine Country which consists of Napa, Mendocino, Lake and Solano Counties Altogether the region boasts over 400 wineries and is world renowned for its wine, cuisine, boutique hotels and lovely scenery. Sonoma is also known for its Pacific Coast views and appears in nearly every list for top wines in the country. The climate lends itself to the production of many varietals, but they are known mostly for Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. You will have plenty of options while you take in one of Northern California’s most beautiful spots for autumn colors.
Best Time to View Fall Colors: Visit in October
Benzinger Family Winery is located in Glen Ellen and is arguably one of Sonoma Valley’s most spectacular areas. The winery offers a 45 minute train ride that can take you through the property while you sip your wine and enjoy the colors of fall.
WALLA WALLA VALLEY - WASHINGTON
Photo courtesy of l'ecole no 41
Walla Walla Valley is located in Southeastern Washington State and is known for its extremely fertile land. Although the region is well known for its agriculture, it is most renowned for its wine production and had emerged as a predominant wine region in the 1980s. Since then it has received many accolades and is mostly known for its Cabernet, followed by Merlot and Syrah. The town is eclectic, with a wide variety of restaurants, boutique shops, cafes and tasting rooms strewn down tree-lined streets and boasts more than 120 wineries to choose from.
Best Time to View Fall Colors: Third week in September through third week in October
L'Ecole no. 41 helped put the Walla Walla Region on the map for top Wine Regions. With an impressive list of awards, accolades and voted as a top winery by Wine & Spirits Magazine for many years, you do not want to miss this stop.
Travel is always good for the soul, especially when paired with wine, friends and gorgeous scenery. With a wine region in almost every state, even if you cannot travel to the ones mentioned above, you are sure to be close to a local winery or wine bar where you can sip in style and enjoy the fall!
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