Where to Go Wine Tasting: Highlights from the U.S. and Canada

When most people think about North American wine, they think about my sunny home state, California. I’ve previously shared some of the best wine tasting regions in California, and believe me, you really can’t go wrong there. Looking to travel beyond California, though, and discover some of the best vineyards the U.S. and Canada has to offer? I asked fellow travel bloggers to share their top picks for where to go wine tasting in North America.

Okanagan Valley, Canada (photo credit)

Monticello AVA, Virginia, United States

Virginia is a wine lover’s paradise. There is wine all over the state, but the area around Charlottesville is one of the best spots for a wine tasting trip. Known as the Monticello American Viticulture Area (AVA), this region has a range of award-winning wines. The soil and climate help produce some top notch varietals. From the state grape of Virginia (viognier) to outstanding cabernet franc and silky petit verdot, the wines don’t disappoint.

And the wineries themselves are spectacular. From small, rustic tasting rooms to expansive vineyards and farm-to-table restaurants, the 33 wineries in this region have something for everyone! Some are large enough and have enough of an atmosphere to spend an entire day. Or, you can visit several in a day as you make your way through the area. Either way, Virginia is a must-see (or sip!) for any wine-lover!

– Kate, Intoxicating World

Barboursville Vineyard, Virginia (photo credit: Kate)

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada

One of the best places to visit for wine tasting is the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. The valley stretches from Lake Country in the north to Osoyoos in the south, covering over 8600 acres of grapes and 172 licensed wineries found in the region. There is a mix of wineries, from large award-winning wineries like Mission Hill and Quails Gate to smaller family-run estates. You can easily spend days exploring, and more importantly, tasting the diverse wine that is produced in the valley. Hire a guide, visit on bike or do it yourself (just make sure you have a designated driver!), the sunshine of the Okanagan Valley is sure to welcome you.

– Adelina, Pack Me To

Quails Gate, Okanagan Valley (photo by Adelina)

Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

Us wine drinkers really do love a good tasting. We are especially happy when they are accompanied with cheese, savouries, and an educational tour of sorts. Being a self-appointed sommelier, I booked a trip to one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario – Prince Edward County. Quite often overshadowed by the Niagara region, Prince Edward County is now a top 10 foodie capital in the world with such company as Paris, Bangkok, and Rome, and has set some very unique records in the wine industry. Here are some of the wineries in the region that we recommend dropping in for a taste of something truly memorable with our without cheese.

Karlo Estates Winery

This lovely barn complete with a tasting room, wine lounge, loft gallery and gift shop, is the perfect place to begin your wine-tasting tour in the county!  What truly makes this winery unique is that it is the first vegan certified winery in North America with plant-based offerings. Enjoy a tasting here with one of their sharing plates. Plus, Derek Barnett, the winery’s winemaker is considered one of the country’s best, being named Wine Person of the Year by the National Capitol Sommeliers Guild! 

Karlo Estates (photo by Janine)

Exultet Winery

We loved this winery, especially their dessert selection. If you are into the sweeter of wines, than you will love what these guys have on offer. Enjoy this family-owned winery with a nice presentation and selection of cheeses.

Hinterland

I consider Hinterland to be the best sparkling wine in all of Ontario! I personally loved the wine here and wouldn’t hesitate to return to replenish my wine fridge. They only serve bubbly and their wines bring out the sweetness of fruit within each bottle. After a taste or two, check out the neighbouring beer tent. It is exceptional!

– Janine, Fill My Passport

Great wine and great food in Prince Edward County (photo credit: Janine)

Walla Walla, Washington, United States

Nestled in the southeastern region of Washington State, the lush valley of Walla Walla is an oasis in the surrounding desert of America’s northwest interior. The combination of a perfect climate and terroir for agriculture, plus the beautiful scenery and small town charm of Walla Walla makes it a perfect place to explore and taste from some of the best wineries in the country. The town itself offers picture perfect tree lined streets full of heritage homes and guest houses, funky boutiques and vintage shops, cafes and award winning restaurants, and of course a cornucopia of wine tasting rooms. The surrounding valley boasts more than 120 wineries, each with their own unique style and representation of a large selection of varietals. All of this within one of the most scenic areas you’ll ever find. This is a wine destination that offers year round delights, as the changing seasons each bring their own special touch and celebrations such as Spring Release, Summer Festival, Fall Harvest and Christmas Holiday Barrel Tasting.

– Sarah and Nathan, Discover the Pacific Northwest

Walla Walla (photo by Sarah and Nathan)

Willamette Valley, Oregon, United States

Oregon‘s leading wine region, the Willamette Valley, is home to nearly 500 wineries. Oregon Wine Country is known as one of the leading pinot noir producing areas in the world, and it’s all delicious! Not only are there delicious wines but also gorgeous views of the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast Range. The Willamette Valley, surrounded by the Cascade Range and the Coast Range, is only 45 minutes from Portland.  Driving through Oregon Wine Country, there is at least one winery every block, so you can pull over at any time and enjoy the gorgeous sweeping views of the vineyards. There isn’t a bad winery in the Willamette Valley. Oregon‘s wine is often overlooked by California’s Napa Valley, but don’t miss the state of delicious pinot and sweeping views.

Tarah and Tip, Fit Two Travel

Stoller Winery (photo credit: Tarah and Tip)

Ready to venture around the world for more wine tasting? Check out my posts about the best wine regions in Italy, the rest of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and miscellaneous spots all over the globe.

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