Unless you’re somewhat of a wine connoisseur, the fact that today (May 25) is National Wine Day probably caught you by surprise when you saw it trending on social media. It’s not 100% clear how the holiday celebrating the globally popular alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes came about, but it’s pretty obvious how to celebrate it.
You can pick up a bottle of your favorite pinot (noir or gris) and down a few glasses OR you can make plans to travel to a winery (either today or maybe this weekend). This survey from 2014 recorded over 7,700 vineyards in the US. Some are in internationally renowned regions like California’s Napa Valley, but many can be found spread across other fertile regions of the country.
Here are six cool American wineries that are totally worth visiting:
Sunset Hills Vineyard
Located an hour’s drive from Washington D.C., Virginia’s Loudoun County has been home to Sunset Hills Vineyard for nearly 15 years. Over this time, the vineyard has won numerous awards and earned a reputation for its dedication to sustainability and historical preservation. Guests are welcomed by breathtaking mountain views and are allowed to sample Sunset Hills’ offerings (both red and white) in a restored Amish barn. Oh, and there’s live music on Saturday and Sunday! Just be sure to make a reservation for your party ahead of time.
Wine Fact: The fear of wine is called Oenophobia – and yes, there are some unfortunate souls who actually suffer from it.
Considered by many to be one the “must-visit” wineries in Napa Valley, Sterling Vineyards rests atop a 300-foot hill. Guests take an aerial tramway to get to the Mediterranean-inspired compound, where they are then free to walk around on their own and enjoy a self-guided tour (complete with motion-activated screens that explain the winemaking process). There are tasting rooms and terraces offering samples of wines paired with cheeses, all set in glorious view of the valley. Be sure to keep your ears open for the eight 17th century British church bells housed in Sterling’s towers; they ring every 15 minutes.
Torre di Pietra
Cutting through central and south Texas, Texas Hill Country has emerged as the home to many of the state’s biggest names in wine. One of the area’s most well-known vineyards is the family owned and operated Torre di Pietra. Along with tasting Torre di Pietra’s wines, visitors can also buy some food and enjoy a picnic, sometimes (depending on the date) while listening to live music.
Wine Fact: California has more Chardonnay grapes than any other place in the world.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars
Founded by a Ukrainian academic in the early 1960s, the Vinifera Wine Cellars in New York’s Finger Lakes region is credited with kickstarting the trend of Northeastern wineries growing European Vitis Vinifera vines. The winery’s tasting room is situated in Frank’s former home and offers stellar views of nearby Keuka Lake.
Divine Llama Vineyards
Founded by two former architects, the North Carolina winery Divine Llama Vineyards has a tasting room set in a rustic farmhouse at the center of its five acres. While trying any number of their red, white, or rosé wines, keep an eye out for the domesticated llamas that roam the grounds, help out with the harvest, and even go on hikes with guests!
Chandler Hill Vineyards
Located in Defiance Missouri, this unique vineyard is named after Joseph Chandler, a freed slave who planted grapes on the property in the late 1800s and purchased acres there after the turn of the century. For wine with a story, the Chandler Hill Vineyard is a must-visit! The 5,000-square-foot deck is a great place to relax, but the beautiful grounds beg to be strolled, too.
Have a suggestion on a unique American winery that’s worth visiting? Leave it in the comments section below!