Europe has a reputation for its wine country, especially in France and Italy. But North America has some seriously underrated wine regions that travelers should add to their bucket lists. Across Canada, the United States, and Mexico, there are tons of varieties of climates, grapes, and the type of wine produced. Find out which North American destinations are best for trips that center around vineyards, winery tours, and wine tastings.
10 Napa Valley, CA, USA
Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine regions in the United States, with wine lovers coming from across the world to visit these vineyards and sip a glass of wine overlooking the lush landscape. It’s located north of San Francisco in the western state of California. The region boasts over 400 wineries where travelers can enjoy tastings and tours.
Napa Valley has favorable conditions for growing a wide range of grapes and has several types of wine that are commonly produced. Most prominently the region produces the red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon.
9 Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada
The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia is known for its abundance of wineries on Canada’s western side. As one of Canada’s top-producing wine regions, there are plenty of high-quality vintages to try here. The growing season is from April to October, which makes autumn the perfect time to visit for harvest.
The Okanagan Valley and the City of Kelowna have 185 wineries, offering travelers plenty of options for where to go when visiting.
8 Walla Walla Valley, WA, USA
The Pacific Northwest may not come to mind when considering where to go for the best wineries in North America, but it’s become an award-winning spot that wine lovers can’t miss. Walla Walla Valley is in Washington, close to the border with Oregon. The area has 30 wineries to choose from.
Walla Walla Valley has some of the oldest wineries in Washington and primarily grows red grapes for wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.
7 Niagara Peninsula, ON, Canada
One of the most famous wine regions in Canada is located in the southeastern province of Ontario. Many travelers are familiar with Niagara Falls, at the border of Canada and the United States. In the same region, there are over 50 wineries making up Ontario’s Wine Route near Niagara on the Lake.
The best time to visit is during the summer or fall when the weather is pleasant and the festivals are plentiful. Attend the Niagara Wine Festival in autumn after the harvest or the Niagara New Vintage Festival in the summer, where visitors can try the wines of the year for the first time. However, the Niagara Icewine Festival takes place in January and is also a worthwhile event.
6 Parras Valley, Coahuila, Mexico
Mexico wasn’t always known for its wine but recently it’s made a name for itself as travelers become more aware of its best vineyards and wineries. One of the top destinations for wine lovers in Mexico should be Parras Valley in the state of Coahuila.
The Parras Valley is home to the oldest winery in the Americas, Casa Madero. The winery was established back in 1597 and is a highlight of touring this region.
5 Paso Robles, CA, USA
Paso Robles is a wine region in California, the USA that some refer to as the wild west of wine. It’s located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, making it further south than Napa Valley.
The region has over 200 wineries, many of which are family-run businesses. Paso Robles’ main production is of ripe red wines, including Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
4 Prince Edward County, ON, Canada
Heading back to the neighbors in the North, Canada has another incredible wine region in southeastern Ontario called Prince Edward County. The region has over 35 winemakers with various niches.
Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are especially famous in this region. This is because of the moderating effect of the lake on the local climate and the flavor the soil brings to the grapes.
3 Verde Valley, AZ, USA
In Northern Arizona, the Verde Valley Wine Trail is one that travelers who love a glass of red or white wine must add to their travel itinerary. The region has 25 wineries and the vineyards here grow over 40 varieties of grapes.
The Verde Valley is located a couple of hours north of Phoenix, making it the perfect day trip when visiting Arizona. The grape harvest occurs in late August and September in this part of the country, making it the best season to travel to Sedona.
2 Valle De Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico
Perhaps Mexico’s most famous wine region, Valle De Guadalupe in Baja California is located close to the US state of California, which makes this a popular destination for Americans. Valle De Guadalupe is responsible for producing 90% of Mexico’s wine at its more than 100 wineries.
Because of the hot climate, the wineries here are open year-round, but the summer months are still the best time to visit when the growing season is taking place. The red wines coming from this region are most commonly Zinfandel, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the white wines include Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Chardonnay.
1 Palisade, CO, USA
Palisade is home to 25 of Colorado’s wineries, making this a popular wine region for tours and tastings in the United States. Visiting Palisade is the perfect way to cap off an adventurous biking or hiking trip in Colorado. Tastings and tours are widely available here and offer travelers the chance to experience another side of the Centennial State.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc are commonly produced in Palisade. The most prevalent white grape grown in Colorado is Riesling.