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Best Wine Tours Outside of Sonoma and Napa Valley

10. Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

10. Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Michigan

Centered on the same latitude parallel as Bordeaux in France, this relative newcomer to the wine industry has made use of some unusual buildings, such as Shady Lane Cellars which used to be a chicken coop and Left Foot Charley which is housed in the facilities of a former insane asylum. Leelanau Peninsula is known to produce a delightful late harvest Riesling.

(image via Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association)

9. Central Wine Country Region

9. Central Wine Country Region

New Mexico

Consisting of 11 wineries and over 150 miles, this wine region carries a history as rich as its red wine. In 1629, a Franciscan priest and monk from Spain planted the first grapevines here on the shores of the Rio Grande. Make sure to stop by the award-winning Casa Rondena, and try the vineyard’s Meritage Red.

(image via New Mexico Wine Tours)

8. Brandywine Valley Wine Trail

8. Brandywine Valley Wine Trail

Pennsylvania

While you may not think of the Quaker State when you think of wine, Pennsylvania ranks eighth in production for the nation. Many of its most well-loved wineries lie in this region. Chaddsford Winery is a visitor favorite, known for its wines rich in tannins. While in the area, stay at the Hamanassett Bed and Breakfast, providing a 19th century feel paired with all the amenities of the modern era.

(image via Brandywine Valley Wine Trail)

7. Yadkin Valley

7. Yadkin Valley

North Carolina

Spanning over 200 miles, the Yadkin Valley area has prime conditions for growing sweet grapes, as is evident in the production of Muscadine, Scuppernong, and Cabernet Franc varieties. Childress Vineyards is the largest (as well as the most recent) winery in the area, offering delicious wines and comfortable lodging on its 65-acre estate.

(image via southernfoodwayalliance, CC)

6. Western Iowa Wine Trail

6. Western Iowa Wine Trail

Iowa

Located in the Loess Hills, this 71-mile stretch houses some of the most sought after soil in Iowa. Make sure to stop by Sugar Clay Winery and Vineyards, who's laid back atmosphere and Sangria Sunday (complete with food offerings and visiting musicians) is the perfect way to spend a weekend.

(image via America's Heartland)

5. Grand Valley

5. Grand Valley

Colorado

With altitudes ranging up to 7,000 feet, the Grand Valley area hosts some of the highest vineyards on the planet. Palisade, Colorado, is home to Plum Creek Cellars, known for their vibrant 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. While visiting this beautiful winery nestled in the Rocky Mountains, be sure to stay at Los Altos B&B so you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of western Colorado.

(image via Colterris Colorado Grand Valley Wine)

4. Anderson Valley

4. Anderson Valley

California

While Sonoma and Napa offer a fantastic selection of exquisite wines, they are far from the only powerhouses in the California wine industry. Anderson Valley excels in the production of a large variety of grapes, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir. Goldeneye is the winery to check out, whose grapevines are surrounded by a forest of Redwoods.

(image via naotakem, CC)

3. Way Out Wineries Road Trip

3. Way Out Wineries Road Trip

Texas

This 300-mile stretch of Texas never gets too cold, making it an ideal location for grapes which burst forth in warmer climates. Brennan Vineyard has been creating Rhone-style and Mediterranean wines while consistently garnering high praise, including recent Double Gold Medals wins for the 2014 Mouvedere Rose and 2013 Tempranillo.

(image via WOW-Way Out Wineries of Texas)

2. Loudoun County Wine Trail

2. Loudoun County Wine Trail

Virginia

Of the nearly 40 wineries on the Loudoun County Wine Trail, the experts recommend stopping by Tarara Winery, whose sweet wines pair well with chocolate and pastries. For those who want an inclusive vacation experience, stay at the Lansdowne Resort, complete with a 12,000-square-foot spa and 3 golf courses. The region’s famous Norton grapes are worth making the trek across the country.

(image via streyeder, CC)

1. Lake Erie Vines and Wines Tour

1. Lake Erie Vines and Wines Tour

Ohio

A great number of vineyards have blossomed out of the shores of Lake Erie. Many of them are family owned and operated, such as Debonne, famous for its Riesling grapes. Because of the brutal winters in the area, many visitors like to come during the spring to try the famous ice wines that are produced by the naturally frozen grapes.

(image via OhioWineTV)