Those who enjoy sipping from a bottle of red, white or blush wine but find that a trip to the Bordeaux region of France simply isn't in the cards right now needn't give up their desires to visit a winery or vineyard. Wineries and fully functioning vineyards dot the landscape of North America. In fact, wine afficionados may be surprised to learn of a winery or vineyard is just a short drive from home.
The American Winery Guide offers that visitors can find a winery and tasting room in just about every state. Colorado boasts 107, Texas has 296, and even Rhode Island, the smallest state, is home to five wineries.
If the goal is to travel to northern regions of North America, Alaska has four wineries, and areas of Novia Scotia, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec have famed wineries for Canadian oenophiles.
Visiting a local winery or vineyard can be educational and fun. Wine tours can be entertaining because some allow visitors to choose their own tasting adventure depending on their level of interest in wine, their budget and what they would like to get out of the experience. Some wineries and vineyards offer extensive tours of the harvesting and production aspects of wine-making. Others will give visitors a chance to mingle among wine barrels and witness the fermentation process. Still, some wineries or vineyards may limit visitors to tasting rooms where they can sample select vintages.
In regions such as Napa Valley where there are many wineries and vineyards in close proximity to one another, guided tours may be available, or wine aficionados can explore areas on their own.
Thanks to the diverse North American climate, the types of grape varietals available in one state or province to the next will be quite different. For example, vineyards that thrive in New Jersey are subject to similar climates to those in many areas of France and Germany. As a result, it's not uncommon to find varieties like Cabernet, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir available at facilities in New Jersey.
According to viniculture experts from Professional Friends of Wine, grapevines are fairly adaptable plants that can thrive in a variety of soil types and temperatures. Soil, sun exposure, drainage, and topography all play roles in how the grapes will ripen and taste.
The chance to support a local business is another reason to make a trip to a nearby winery or vineyard. These facilities often produce wine and sell it close to home. By supporting small business, consumers can contribute to the success and the diversity of offerings where they live.
Wine tastings are an enjoyable recreational pursuit. Remember to drink responsibly, and join the mailing lists of nearby wineries and vineyards to learn more about tasting events and food pairings.