The U.S. Uncorked: Top 10 Wine-Travel Destinations [Part Two]

“No nation is drunk where wine is cheap; and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Happy Travel Tuesday everyone and welcome to part two of the Top Ten Wine-Travel Destinations. I trust everyone has their travel plans set for this week's Fourth of July festivities. Mrs. Cuvee and I off on another wine adventure, heading north from San Diego to spend some time in the Santa Lucia Highlands. 

6. The Monticello Wine Trail: This newly emerging wine-destination in Virginia is not too be missed and the winery featured in the image above is in my view one of the best examples of "why" you need to get your buns over-there to see what is going on for yourself. Amy Zavatto commenting on the Virginia Wine Scene had this to say; "Nearly 240 years later, Virginia has become Jefferson's land of the free-run, home of the grape"   Wow, who doesn't like to have their dreams come true, even if those dreams and visions are not realized in your lifetime? 

I had both the privilege and the pain of visiting this area on thee HOTTEST weekend of the year during the 2011 WBC in Charlottesville. While none of that diminished the beauty of this great area, or the wines I experienced. I'd say choosing to visit in late June, July or August would not be the best choice. Jefferson's Vineyard review. If you'd like to visit this wine-tastic area and I recommend that you do, here's a handy-dandy guide. Key Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Chardonnay. 

7. Woodinville, WA: An amazing easy place to visit for anyone traveling to Seattle, as it's just a mere 30 miles outside of the Emerald City. So pack those picnic baskets, load-up the bicycles, the kids and dogs and  go experience some the best wines being made in the state of Washington. I know, here we are back in Washington State, and for that reason alone you should take note. Here is the link to discovering either the Warehouse district or the Tourist District and your key to uncovering some seriously good juice. Key Varietals, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and more.  

One big-time recommendation for dining while in the area, don't miss the Barking Frog at Willows Lodge. A few favorite wineries, I'd put on your list DiStefano, Betz, Baer, and DeLille, just to name a few are not to be missed [real wines, real soul]. Need more recommendations? Email me!

8. Santa Cruz Mountains: Matthew Kramer longtime writer for the Wine Spectator commenting on the Santa Cruz Mountains wine scene is quoted to have said, “It remains one of California’s all-time underrated wine districts!” If the only criteria you have for traveling to a wine-destination is how much they tickle your fancy, then this may not be a region you'd enjoy exploring. But that said, this is a great alternative for folks who live in the bay-area to explore a wine region which doesn't have either Napa or Sonoma on the label. Key Varietals Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

If you're a bit more on the adventurous side and don't mind winding roads to the top to find great wineries like Ridge pictured above, then it's time to pack those picnic-baskets. Besides the fantastic views from this world-class winery, you'll also find a great place hang-out, uncork a bottle or two to share with friends and family. I've only been to this area once, but it was an unforgettable. Amazing views, great wine abounds and again if cycling is your thing, a visit to this area is not to be missed. 

9. Walla Walla, Washington: Good friends, Good Wine, Good Times. I was so glad to see this one on this list, a city so nice they named it twice. Mrs. Cuvee and I had an opportunity to visit this great town back in 2010 and it was unforgettable. The hospitality, and the spirit of generosity flow as easily as newly uncorked bottle of wine. If you'd like to get the complete 411 on this amazing wine-destination, please click on this link here. 

And for a complete list of the wineries feel free to click through this e-zine here. The B&B's in-town are amazingly comfortable, you may never want to leave. Now for a few recommendations winery-wise, L'Ecole [wowsers] Dunham Cellars and Waterbrook are not to be missed. Again if you want the complete list of recommendations, feel-free to email me. 

Okay last and not the least by any stretch, number ten will be revealed here [next Travel Tuesday] once I get back from my next wine-travel-adventure. Until next time folks, enjoy your FOJ celebration with friends and family and as always remember life is short, so sip long and prosper cheers!
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