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Wine Travel: Now Available Near You On A U.S. Wine Trail

Mar 8, 2008
If you're looking for a unique weekend getaway, complete with beautiful lush scenery, rolling hills, and wine tasting, consider traversing one of the many U.S. wine trails. Did you know that each of the 50 states now has at least one active winery? In fact, many wineries are clustered together in certain geographical areas conducive to grape growing and wine making.

These small independent wineries are typically grouped only a few miles apart, making it easy to visit several over the course of a day or two. In addition to beautiful scenic countryside, you'll be able to taste some of America's finest new award winning wines, produced by master winemakers.

Most wine trails are designated by their state's tourism commission. Typically, you'll see distinct signage and maps to help guide the way from winery to winery. Interestignly, there are wine trails in the northeast states all the way to the southwest, and many states have multiple wine trails. Enjoying the passion of these independent wine makers is truly an experience to share with family and friends.

Although the traditional wine producting states like California, Washington, and Oregon are usually in the forefront of wine lover's minds, other states are catching up fast. With groups of wineries scattered all over the U.S., there are options galore for those seeking a wine travel experience. Almost two dozen states have officially designated at least one wine trail. We expect the trend to continue as state tourism boards learn more about wine travel and wine related tourism.

Another example is Missouri, where there are 75 wineries, many with their wine making roots going back 150 years. These midwestern states, along with many in the eastern part of the U.S., are the forefathers of the American wine industry. There are many largely undiscovered treasures that await in dozens of other states as well.

Most wine trails are small and compact enough to allow reasonable drive times. Wineries are usually clustered within 15-20 minutes of one another. Also, you'll find many comfortable inns, bed and breakfasts, and local attractions along the wine trails. Most wineries are open year around, but of course it's best to call or check on the web.

We always bring an open mind when exploring new wine trails. With thousands of grape varieties, it stands to reason there are almost as many wine styles. These small independent wineries enjoy bringing you a new twist on an old favorite, so leave any preconceptions at home. Each region generally offers local specialties, so open your palate and you may discover a new favorite!

While many wine trails can be traveled in one day, consider adding an overnight stay to enhance your experience. Wine is a beverage to be savored and enjoyed leisurely. Give yourself ample time at each winery to relax and unwind. You'll likely find an enjoyable wine to enjoy later in the evening as you settle in for the night. Experience the local restaurants, chat up the local residents, and explore other attractions and points of interest.

Exploring a U.S. wine trail is a highly enjoyable weekend getaway, one you'll want to duplicate again and again. With so many small boutique wineries, you'll appreciate the chance to allow your palate and tastes to blossom. Best of all, no matter where home is, chances are there's a wine trail within a half day's drive. No matter the season, small friendly wineries are waiting for your visit, ready to share their handcrafted wines with pride.
About the Author
Jim Hofman is an author specializing in wine and beer, and is the owner of several websites devoted to wine enjoyment. Jim and his wife produce a free bi-weekly newsletter, dedicated to introducing their readers to the many U.S. wine trails and the joy of wine travel.
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