The Tipsy Traveler: 4 Unexpected North American Wine Destinations for 2014

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So you’ve done all the tried-and-true wine trails: Napa, large swaths of Italy, perhaps some more “off the beaten” path vino destinations like Spain’s Ribera del Duero.

But now you’re looking to get beyond … to venture further afield to those up-and-coming wine destinations that only true vino-loving travelers know about. You’re looking to really dig into the minute details of enjoying fabulous wine – food pairing, understanding serving temperatures, etc. We’re talking destinations for true wine geeks.

Overlooking the Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy
Overlooking the Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy © Francesco Sgroi

Here, our top four picks for the world’s greatest, most unexpected wine destinations for 2014 …

#1: Valle de Guadalupe/Baja California (Mexico)

Ahh the infamous Mexico Wine Trail … wait, what?! Believe it or not, this tiny sliver of Route 3 in the northern section of Baja California is producing some truly top notch vino.

Once known for cheap tequila and even cheaper … well, we won’t get into that … this region is nary a two-hour drive south of San Diego. And local wineries here are partnering with world class hoteliers and chefs to build an honest-to-goodness wine route (known as the Ruta del Vino).

#2: Texas Hill Country (Texas, USA)

It might come as a surprise to many that Texas ranks among the top five wine-producing states in the US. And this region along Highway 290 (just outside Austin) is the second largest in the entire nation. The scenery is just as you might expect this far south – plenty of southern charm, rolling hills and Wild West landscape. But now there’s plenty of wineries peppering those plains as well.

#3: Walla Walla (Washington, USA)

Look past the admittedly silly name (and the fact that Walla Walla Washington Wine is maybe the greatest bit of travel writer’s alliteration ever) and embrace this lush, charming and historic community that’s less than an hour’s flight outside Seattle. It’s fast becoming the central hub for the state’s wine tourism boom.

In total, this sizable AVA is home to more than 120 wineries and scores of beautiful vineyards to boot. It’s so big in fact that part of it is actually in Oregon.

#4: Sonoma County (California)

You’ve no doubt heard of Sonoma County. And you’ve no doubt brushed it off like countless other travelers who’d “rather go to Napa!”. Seriously: you’re missing out!

For amazing food, stunning vistas and (duh!) world class wine, step outside the staid, stuffy, pinky-up world of Napa and dig into some real California wine country. On the wine front, you’ll find some of the country’s best cool-climate wines (Cab Sav, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay to name a few). Pair those with truly great artisanal cheeses and fresh local seafood and you’ve arrived at a destination that would make even Chef Gordon Ramsay happy.

The post The Tipsy Traveler: 4 Unexpected North American Wine Destinations for 2014 appeared first on Vagabondish.

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