Fall is one of the best reasons to visit wine country. Not only are the wineries in full swing—crushing grapes, making wine, and filling the air with delicious smells—but the leaves are finally changing, delivering some of the most picturesque views you can find in the fall. While all wineries are beautiful during harvest, there are some regions where fall’s colors simply shine brighter and the season truly takes on its quintessential qualities. These are those regions.
7. Walla Walla, WA
A region known for it’s delicious red blends that almost always include Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla is what many people traditionally think of when they consider visiting a farming region in the fall. The rolling hills provide a dynamic swath of colors, and the town of Walla Walla itself is the perfect destination for a leisurely fall stroll.
6. Sonoma County, CA:
While Sonoma might be known as Napa’s little brother, this is the more laid back of America’s two most famous wine regions. And with a bit more rustic charm than polished Napa, Sonoma truly shows off what fall in Northern California is all about. We recommend a hike in order to take in all of the gorgeous fall colors, and ending it with a nice bottle of Sonoma wine.
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5. Texas Hill Country:
Texas Hill Country has some of the best drives of all the regions on this list, especially scenic Highway 16, which cuts through Hill Country for 30 miles between Kerrville and Medina. And with such a wide open expanse of land to view, these roads can often feel like they are yours alone. Make sure to pull over for some some of the country’s best BBQ while you’re visiting the wineries in this up and coming region. In a few years we anticipate that this area will truly explode, so go while it still feels like a hidden gem.
4. Traverse City, MI:
Michigan is by far one of the most beautiful states to visit in the fall, and this emerging wine region delivers in both color and wine departments. While Traverse City is only newly considered a wine region, it’s location on Lake Michigan has always made it an ideal destination for fall colors. Now, thanks to some incredible wineries like Left Foot Charley, you can enjoy the changing leaves and a delicious blaufränkisch to pair along with them.
Jefferson always knew great wine was possible in this state, and given that we named it the most exciting wine region in America last year, we wholeheartedly agree. Thanks to Virginia’s colonial heritage, it’s one of the most delightful places to spend a fall weekend. Take in a few wineries in the Charlottesville area and then head to Monticello to witness the fall colors pouring out over the expanse of land that you can view while perched atop Jefferson’s historic compound. You’ll never feel more patriotic.
2. Willamette Valley, OR:
Home to the best Pinot Noir in the United States, this is also one of America’s most beautiful wine regions in the fall. Despite the Willamette Valley’s astounding success, the people here are still as down to earth as ever. You’ll often feel more like you’re visiting a quaint farm than a celebrated winery, which actually makes sense since all great wine truly starts in the Vineyard. Nowhere do they understand that more than the Willamette Valley.
1. The Finger Lakes, NY:
You’d be hard pressed to find a more quintessential fall location than New York’s Finger Lakes. The colors that envelope the lakes this time of year are breathtaking, as are the wineries, including Heart & Hands, Bloomer Creek, Shaw Vineyards and many more. During your visit, spend a bit of time in Ithaca, home to Cornell University and great coffee, thanks to Gimme Coffee. You’ll need the caffeine to fuel all your tasting and picture taking.