While many think first of California when it comes to wine regions, the U.S. is actually home to over 200 AVA or American Viticultural Areas in states throughout the nation. From Michigan to Washington to Iowa, take a look at 2 stunning wine regions not in California and become inspired with a taste of the U.S.
Willamette Valley – Simply referred to as the Oregon Wine Country, the Willamette Valley stretches from the Columbia River south to Eugene. Encompassing over 5,200 square miles it is the largest AVA in the state of Oregon and is well known for its world renowned Pinot noir. One of 7 AVA’s in the state, it dates back around 50 years to 1968 when three wine lovers got together and created the first three vineyards in the region despite the disbelief in the project from their friends believing it was too cold.
A mild climate with cool wet winter and warm dry summers, this is a temperate climate combined with coastal marine influences and offers four predominant varieties of wines including Pinot gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot noir. Home to many large cities, museums, festivals and inns, restaurants and farmers markets, there is plenty to see and do.
Grand Valley – Located in Mesa County, Colorado, this amazing AVA encompasses over 32,000 acres of rolling hills, loamy soils, high deserts and deep pine forests. Viticulture or wine production in this unique area began over 100 years ago in the late 19th century when State Governor George A Crawford planted the first 60 acre vineyard. A continental climate, vineyards are planted at elevations as high as 4,700 feet. Once a hidden gem, the Colorado wine country is fast becoming one of the most popular regions in the state for tourism and has been rated one of the top 10 in the country. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, the cool breezes, low humidity and beautiful refreshing mountain streams make this a must see for any wine lover.
Wines in this region are much different from a “California Wine”. Here, wines are more like those found in Argentina and Spain. The elevation of the vineyards here and low humidity create unique wines. Home to more than one AVA and 7 growing wine regions, the Grand Valley AVA is located 40 miles east of the Utah border. Wines here include Syrah, Viognier and other Rhone varieties in addition to Bordeaux grapes.
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