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There are thousands of wineries across the U.S., so how do you pick the very best? When it comes to touring and tasting and maybe even a wine-focused summer road trip, we’ve pulled together a list of the top venues based on a combination of factors that include outstanding wines, excellent tours, spectacular scenery, and personal experience. Of course, location is important, too, so we’ve made visiting the country’s top wine regions easy no matter where you are by featuring wineries from Napa/Sonoma and Paso Robles in California to up-and-coming areas, such as the wineries and vineyards in Northern Virginia and Long Island, New York.
A family-owned boutique winery nestled in the mountains west of Paso Robles, Adelaida Vineyards is renowned for its white and bold red Rhone-style wine blends made from grape varieties like syrah, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon. It impresses at first glance, set back against a hillside. The winery is on the site of a 500-acre walnut grove. As you enter the winery building, you’ll pass beneath a grape arbor and walk through hand-carved oak doors leading to the stylish tasting room with a black granite tasting bar. There are several tasting experiences, including private tastings in the Cellar Library, a seated tasting that includes library wines, and education on how they’re produced. You can tour the walnut orchards and the estate vineyards by making a reservation.
This family-owned and operated winery is known for its hospitality, premium wines, and fabulous views and is perfect for a romantic weekend getaway from DC. Stone Tower Winery includes more than 50 acres of beautiful vineyards on a 400-acre property that sits atop Hogsback Mountain in Leesburg, close to the town’s historic downtown bustling with restaurants, cafes, bars, breweries, and boutiques. Their wines feature classic French varietals and regular guided tours of the vineyards and cellar are offered. There are two Tasting Rooms with an array of impressive options from Bordeaux-style blends to Rhone white varietals.
Texas Wine Collective (formerly 4.0 Cellars) offers a Hill Country Tasting Room for three award-winning wineries: Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery, and McPherson Cellars. A visit is memorable and unique, offering the chance to learn about winemaking techniques, the products, and the passion that goes into it all. Tastings include everything from diverse blends to single varietals that can be enjoyed with cheeseboards that include a variety of cheeses, thinly sliced meats, crackers, seasonal fruits, and Fredericksburg-made chocolates. The La Herencia Rosa 2016 is a favorite with its citrus and strawberry combination, and the Montepulciano 2015 is a must try, combining spice, oak, and red fruit.
There are several outstanding wineries in Long Island, including Castello di Borghese Vineyard and Winery. It’s one of the oldest vineyards, founded in 1973. They produce reds, whites, rosés, and dessert wines and have won several awards, including a Silver Medal for the 2009 Riesling at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The Cabernet franc, with its aromas of strawberry, smoke, and caramel, is a favorite too. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic basket, enjoy a tasting, and take a tour of the vineyard and winery, offered daily. Learn about the stage of life the vines are in, see the private wine cellar and barrel hall, and enjoy the beautiful property.
A leader in the Oregon wine industry, the first Adelsheim Vineyard vines were planted in 1972 by Ginny and David Adelsheim. Their goal was to create world-class chardonnay and pinot noir in the Chehalem Mountains, what was at the time an undiscovered wine region. Now often found in Wine & Spirits Top 100 Winery list, their winery is an astounding success in every way. In fact, the winery has played an essential role in nearly every aspect of Oregon’s wine history. It’s a LIVE certified sustainable winery and they offer daily tours of the vineyard, barrel caves, and facility.
Eberle Winery, known for the golden boar on its label, is best known for Zins, but its whites, syrah, and Sangiovese are impressive too. You’ll need to make a reservation for a tasting, but options include seated tastings and cave tours, lasting a total of 90 minutes. Learn how the wine is made and about the winery’s history. The Vineyard Deck Tour & Tasting is free.
Big Table Farm is a highlight in the Willamette Valley, crafting some of the most compelling wines in Oregon. It’s the result of the collaborative effort of Brian Marcy and Clare Carver, who had worked with some well-known wineries before starting this venture. They produce what they love to drink, including chardonnay, pinot gris, and pinot noir. Visitors can sample their wine at Big Table Farm Atelier, which sits within a historic feed store in charming downtown Carlton. You’ll need an appointment, but Clare will walk you through the eight current release wines, including single vineyard and special bottles or library wines, in addition to sharing them with you, discussing their creative process, and telling the “Big Table” story.
This famous winery in one of California’s top wine regions features an authentically styled 13th-century Tuscan castle that sits on a knoll in Calistoga, complete with high stone walls, a moat with a drawbridge, gargoyles, a church, and even a dungeon with a functional Renaissance-era iron maiden. Castello di Amorosa‘s frescoes in the Great Hall and Knights’ Chamber were hand-painted, while the Hapsburg-era bricks, hand-forged nails, chandeliers, and 500-year-old fireplace were all imported from Europe. The winery produces hand-crafted Italian-styled wines, including Sangiovese. Open daily for touring and tastings, visitors can purchase exclusive wines and explore the gorgeous grounds.
Named one of the 25 best wineries in the U.S. by Reader’s Digest in 2021, Baily Vineyard & Winery is owned and operated by the Baily family. They specialize in wines made from cabernet sauvignon and other traditional Bordeaux varieties. The Bailys moved to the Temecula Valley in 1981 and opened their winery five years later, making it the second oldest when it comes to continuous ownership by the same family. Son Patrick and grandson Alex are on the winemaking team, ensuring there are at least a few more generations of Baily who will continue the venture well into the future. Visitors can sample current releases at the Baily Visitor Center, which also hosts a medieval-themed restaurant with live music on the weekends. Or, book an experience in advance at the Estate Tasting Room to enjoy a vertical of library wines.
One of Texas’ best wineries and located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, just a short drive from Fredericksburg, Grape Creek Vineyards offers a Tuscan-inspired wine experience in its beautiful Italian Villa tasting room. It’s also considered to be one of Texas’ best wineries. Cellar tours are available that include barrel tastings at the state-of-the-art wine production complex. There are 14 varietals and blends on offer, like the bold and spicy blend of Sangiovese. Visitors can even take a tram ride throughout the picturesque estate and pick up a bottle in the Italian picnic market to enjoy a glass under the tree-shaded patios that overlook the vineyards and surrounding Hill Country landscape.
Bricoleur Vineyards was a recent winner in the 2022 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest for Best New Winery. Located in Sonoma County, it stands out for its unique wine and food pairings with a dinner series showcasing the estate’s bountiful, sustainably-farmed culinary garden known as the “Seasons.” Tastings are available in a lovely setting, and the wines are excellent, with several types that range from rosés to chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and a sophisticated pinot noir produced from grapes in the estate’s own vineyards. It’s a popular place for a gourmet picnic that can be enjoyed at tables in the culinary and rose gardens, under a trellis near the pond, or on the pavilion lawn.
One of the most well-known wineries in Virginia, Barboursville Vineyards, was founded in 1976, although the estate dates to the 18th century. It’s owned by the same family from Italy’s Veneto, the Zonins, who brought in their Old World know-how and a talented winemaker, creating a winery that’s been recognized often for wines like the flagship Octagon red Bordeaux blend and whites such as viognier and chardonnay. Visitors can explore the grounds, which include the ruins of a mansion Thomas Jefferson built, and enjoy tastings in the tasting room. It’s also possible to stay on the property at their inn and cottages, and dine in the on-site restaurant.
Picturesque Pine Ridge Vineyards has been around for over 40 years, nestled in the heart of the Stags Leap District of Napa. Visitors can enjoy their tour and intimate tastings of their elegant cabernet sauvignon wines and more, along with views of the surrounding hills and sustainable vineyards. It was named one of the 75 Best Wineries to Visit in California by Food & Wine and offers a wide range of wine tasting experiences for every palate. All the estate vineyards are Napa Green Certified Land, and 80 percent of the material is diverted from landfills or recycled. Enjoy a shady patio and picnic grounds for relaxing with a glass, and don’t miss the chance to check out the demonstration vineyard for a closer look at the vines.
A visit to Jamesport Vineyards is an exciting thing to do on a sunny weekend in Long Island, with wine enthusiasts spreading out on the vast lawn to enjoy wine, light bites, and live music. It’s even possible to book a room on the property and stay overnight. There is a gorgeous tasting room set inside an over 165-year-old barn that’s in full view of the wine cellar. The favorite wine from this winery is the East End Sauvignon Blanc, a dry white wine that has notes of white peach and kiwi. The grounds also host the Little Oak Wood Fired Kitchen, known for its amazing pizza.
One of the most visited and top-rated wineries in Napa Valley, V. Sattui offers Old World Italian charm with over 60 different wines, including Port-style and sparkling wines. They have consistently achieved top awards for their wines that winemaker Brooks Painter crafts himself. Personalized winery and barrel tasting tours are available along with vast picnic grounds, a deli with fresh foods, frequent BBQs, and special events. Plus, the staff is well-trained, knowledgeable, and friendly, ensuring that all your questions are answered.