Traveling off the beaten path for good wine
By Aimee Markwardt
Napa and Sonoma get all the love.
And OK, with about 600 wineries and tasting rooms in these popular California travel destinations, it’s well deserved affection. But that’s far from the end of the road for wine lovers.
Winebusiness.com reports the number of U.S. wineries jumped 5 percent, hitting more than 7,000 in 2011.
Here are a few of our favorite less-known but still totally remarkable ideas for a wine country vacation that takes you off the beaten path.
Yakima Valley, Washington — Washington state’s oldest and largest wine region boasts more than 12,000 acres of grapes, which account for more than a third of the state’s wine production, according to Winecountry.com. Check out Visityakima.com’s three different tasting routes. One winery not to miss: Chinook Wines, a 30-year-old husband-and-wife vineyard.
Colorado offers more than just snow. Colorado Wine Country Tours offers tours of the state’s wineries on the Front Range and Western Slope — ideal for bachelorette or bachelor parties, friend trips out, honeymoons, celebrations or just for fun.
Wine Tours of the World organizes more than a dozen wine tours across the United States, including Willamette Valley in Oregon. This region is home to more than 200 wineries and tasting rooms, and is known for producing some of the world’s best pinot noir.
On a budget?
Make sure you check Priceline.com, via Shopathome.com, where you can get 50 percent off last-minute deals on flights, hotels, cars and vacation packages — plus up to 6 percent cash back.
Photo courtesy of Yakima Valley.