The term “wine country” used to carry fairly clear connotations – it was the place where wine was made, and generally speaking, wine country in the United States pretty much meant Napa and Sonoma – but these days, wine country is expanding in some remarkable and exciting ways. (To be clear, California is still ridiculous strong in terms of wine production. According to The Street, “Though 638 million gallons of that U.S. total still come from California, which would make that state among the Top 10 wine-producing countries in the world if it seceded tomorrow.”
For starters, we’re not just in Napa anymore, Toto. Sure, there’s amazing wine in Oregon and Washington, but there’s also some downright delicious bottles coming out of New Mexico (Gruet, anyone?), Virginia, the Finger Lakes, and even Ohio. And even if a city can’t lay claim to a big-name winery, there are plenty of other attractions providing ample entertainment and interest for eager oenophiles.
Among the surprising entries on The Street’s list of Top 10 Greatest Wine Cities in the U.S.?
- Cincinnati: “…not only is Ohio home to more than 240 wineries, but its history dates back to Cincinnati lawyer Nicholas Longworth planting Catawba grapes in Cincinnati above the Ohio River in the early 1800s.”
- Washington, D.C.: “Viognier, Petit Verdot and Nebbiolo may not get the attention of a Northeast commuter, but they’ll certainly impress a visitors from the regions that grow them.”
- Sacramento: “The 120-mile Sacramento Valley… produces 7,300 acres of wine grapes.” Seems like Napa and Sonoma might have more competition than people think.
The idea of an expanding wine country is a central theme here at Wine Geographic, and it’s interesting to see some of these non-traditional wine cities getting some recognition.
For the rest of the list and some great wine country stats, head on over to the original article.