4 Emerging U.S. Wine Destinations

Perhaps they're not the first place you think of when it comes to wineries, but these four regions offer character and great wine, without the hoopla.

Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia's premier wine country, dotted with working farms and over 1,000 acres of grape vines, spreads out around the city of Charlottesville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The free tour at 20-acre Jefferson Vineyards both explores the winery and recounts the history of Virginia wine making (jeffersonvineyards.com, tasting $5). The viognier, with aromas of honeysuckle and apricot, is an ideal refresher, and from the deck at the tasting room, visitors have a view of Carters Mountain and Jefferson's home, Monticello, a mile and a half north, where a recently opened visitors center introduces guests to the founding father's life and ideas (monticello.org, from $15). Jefferson's master builder also built Dinsmore House, a B&B just a block from the University of Virginia. The decor deliberately recalls the colonial era, but the amenities—Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs—are right up-to-date (dinsmorehouse.com, from $109). South of Monticello is Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, whose 2005 blanc de blanc has hints of candied apple and lemon custard (klugeestateonline.com, tasting $10). About 18 miles west of Charlottesville, in Crozet, King Family Vineyards occupies 15 acres on a farm where polo ponies are raised; visitors can watch polo matches for free on Sundays from Memorial Day through the end of September (kingfamilyvineyards.com, tasting $5). For a picnic at the vineyard, the Crosé, a dry rosé, pairs well with the tomato sauce on a pie from perennial favorite Crozet Pizza. Be prepared for a wait at the 32-year-old institution; some call this the best pizza in the state, and people come from miles around to combine toppings from the list of over 30 options, including zucchini, peanuts, and bacon (crozetpizza.net, from $11.50). —Thomas Berger



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