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Celebrating National Wine Day



Toasting with Champagne
Cheers to National Wine Day!

Monday might be Memorial Day, but Saturday is the day to raise a glass to wine. For me, wine and travel are intrinsically linked so I’m shining a light on my favorite lesser-known American wine regions to travel to for National Wine Day.

 

Paso Robles

Arguably, Paso Robles isn’t flying under the radar these days, but it still gets second billing to its famous wine country cousins to the North. Paso has everything I love, hundreds of great wineries, great restaurants, close to the coast and friendly people. Many days when I’m dealing with big city problems, I fantasize about moving to this community-oriented town of 50,000.

 

Paso Robles produces an incredible amount of different varietals of wine, so whether you like white, red, rosé or even bubbles, you can find it here. Base at the Oxford Suites or for a splurge, book the Hotel Cheval in downtown.

 

For me a perfect day of wine tasting would include a stop at Volatus to meet Hal, the former Top Gun instructor turned maverick winemaker, Megan at High Camp Wines to meet a Millennial winemaker hitting all the right notes and Neeta at LXV Wine to have your perceptions about wine pairings blown out of the water. For lunch, nothing beats Paris Valley Road Estate Winery.

 

Temecula

Another California wine region that surprised me with the quality of its wines. Located near Palm Springs, it’s making some of the best Italian varietals in the USA.

 

To keep that Italian vibe going, base at the Europa Village, which is an homage to France, Spain and Italy.

 

My favorite wine experience for Italian lovers is at Bottaia. It’s food-paired tasting was one of the best I’ve done in years. The pairings really showcased the power wine and food have over each other. Other don’t miss wineries include Robert Renzoni Vineyards, Wiens Family Cellars, Doffo Winery and Leoness Cellars.

 

Arizona

Wine in the desert? You bet! Today my home state has over 120 wineries. Travelers can head south of Phoenix to Wilcox and Sonoita. This area arguably has some of the best vineyards, but less amenities for travelers than the Verde Valley 90 minutes north of Phoenix. Exploring the Verde Valley AVA also means you can enjoy the stunning beauty of nearby Sedona.

 

If you want to be closer to wine country base at the Tavern Hotel in downtown Cottonwood. If you’re looking for a more romantic getaway Enchantment Resort in Sedona is hard to beat.

 

Plan to spend one day enjoying the tasting rooms from producers like Arizona Stronghold, Rubrix Wines and DA Vines. Don’t miss the newly opened Merkin Hilltop vineyard.

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