In this day and age when nearly every secret to the universe can be solved by a split-second Google search, it’s somewhat unbelievable that anything new can be uncovered.
Yet that’s exactly what happened this past week when Next Avenue reporter Jodi Helmer dug into the lesser-known wine regions of the United States and unearthed four wine regions you may not have heard of but certainly must watch over the next few years.
From the barren stretches of the Arizona desert to the sparkling blue bay of Rhode Island’s Newport County, wine greatness is bound to be found with a little looking, Helmer proved.
First on her list was Colorado’s Grand Valley, where the wineries are perched at an average altitude of 4,700 feet. The region is home to the majority of Colorado’s wineries. It’s epicenter, Palisade, is home to the state’s yearly Colorado Mountain Winefest, where visitors can taste the best the state has to offer and get their feet dirty in the proverbial grape-stomping session.
Helmer’s next choice for America’s up-and-coming wine region took readers across the continent to the picturesque seaside city of Newport, where high-rise hotels and hillside mansions overlook a bay that’s been home to the America’s Cup.
The area mimics French wine regions, she said, because they have a “long, cool” growing season. The region’s top quaffers come from Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery, home to one of the top-5 sparkling wine producers in the country. Like the Grand Valley, Newport County has a quaint wine festival where attendees can taste the local sippers and tour three of the city’s famous historic homes.
Departing from the East Coast, Helmer headed west and landed in the sparse-yet-beautiful expanse of Arizona’s Verde Valley. The region commissioned local artists to paint 40 wine barrels that now serve as markers for the area’s Verde Valley Wine Trail. Visitors can try the offerings at Chateau Tumbleweed, or tilt back local libations at the annual Sedona Winefest. Verde Valley may not have the emerald beauty of the rolling hills of Napa, but the region does have the stunning Red Rocks of Sedona.
The final region on Helmer’s list was North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley. That’s right; tobacco isn’t the only addicting vegetation popping up from the Tarheel State’s fertile soil. Yadkin is North Carolina’s first wine region. Located a short drive from Winston-Salem, the region is home to 36 wineries, including the USDA certified-organic winery Carolina Heritage. Don’t miss Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery, where an Italian-style country house doubles as the establishments tasting room.
“Across the U.S., these once-undiscovered regions are generating buzz ,” Helmer wrote, “thanks to their award-winning wines, scenic settings and not-to-be-missed festivals and events.”