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American wineries you should visit (and none of them are in California)

on 19/09/14 at 12:22 pm


grape-map3aCalifornia lures the lion’s share of Sideways-style quaffers – although areas such as Paso Robles and Temecula Valley show there’s much more to sip here than Napa and Sonoma – but the United States is bursting with intriguing alternatives worth sticking your nose into.

“New York state’s two primary fine wine regions – Long Island and the Finger Lakes – couldn’t be more different,” says Lenn Thompson, executive editor of New York Cork Report (newyorkcorkreport.com). The former is dripping with merlot, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc, while the cooler latter is ruled by riesling, with sparkling wine, gewurztraminer and blaufrankisch side notes.

But while visit-worthy wineries abound – Thompson’s faves are Long Island’s Paumanok Vineyards and Seneca Lake’s Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard – are there any under-the-radar areas worth sniffing out?

“The region I have my eye on is the Niagara Escarpment AVA. The Canadian side of the border has a well-regarded wine industry, so it shouldn’t be surprising that New York’s side shows promise. Right now, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards and Leonard Oakes Winery are doing great things.”

And what about the rest of the country? “I’m a fan of lesser-known regions and have found outstanding wines in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia,” Thompson says.