While we love Napa and Sonoma, there are many other wine regions to visit without leaving the continent that are just as beautiful. From British Columbia to North Carolina, these less crowded, more adventurous destinations allow you the chance to discover new wines in an intimate setting. Explore the accompanying scenic landscape and chow down on great food for a multi-faceted experience of terroir.— Amber Gibson
Finger Lakes, New York
Fly into Syracuse to explore the 11 pristine lakes and more than 120 wineries here. The cool climate is famous for aromatic riesling and Gewürztraminer although Fulkerson Winery, Bloomer Creek Vineyard and Heart & Hands Wine Company are also producing great cabernet franc and pinot noir. Tasting appointments are not needed, but you’ll want to book ahead for the Water to Wine tour, a wine-centered cruise around Cayuga Lake. Glenora Wine Cellars is the oldest winery on Seneca Lake, opened in 1977, and the 30-room inn attached is a quaint place to stay. Non-drinkers can try glassblowing at the Corning Museum of Glass, home to the world’s largest collection of glass art, before chowing down on fried chicken, ginger-crusted salmon, and vegetarian curry at Kindred Fare.
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Guadalupe Valley, Mexico
Follow bumpy dirt roads to find gourmet restaurants, more than 50 new and old wineries, and charming bed and breakfasts in Mexico’s premier wine region. Begin your journey at the Vine & Wine Museum in the heart of the valley to learn about Baja California’s wine culture and viticulture history before visiting L.A. Cetto, one of Mexico’s oldest and most respected wineries and the largest producer in the country. Stop at new sustainable winery Clos de Tres Cantos followed by Adobe Guadalupe for a horseback ride through the vineyards. Have an elegant dinner at Laja or grab a casual bite at Troika, a food truck found just outside Vena Cava winery before retiring to an eco-friendly modern bungalow at Encuentro Guadalupe.
Eastern Townships, Quebec
This new wine region just an hour’s drive from Montreal has two primary wine routes: Route des vins de Brome-Missisquoi with more than 20 vineyards, and the smaller Route des vins de l’Estrie comprising seven vineyards. Domaine des Côtes d’Ardoise was the first winery to open here in 1980 and a wonderful place to taste red wine made from hybrid Maréchal Foch, De Chaunac and Chelois grapes while taking a stroll along the flowered paths and sculpture gardens. Visit Vignoble de l’Orpailleur, the largest winery in Québec, for award-winning ice wine along with Vignoble Le Cep d’Argent for sparkling wine and Vignoble Les Pervenches for organic chardonnay. Along with great wine, the region also makes ice cider and fire cider from its bounty of apples. Retire to Manoir Hovey, the only Relais & Châteaux property around, and dine at Le Hatley, where they make their own birch syrup and forage for wild mushrooms and herbs on property.
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Yadkin Valley, North Carolina
North Carolina has historically been best known for producing tobacco, but many former tobacco farmers have turned to growing grapes. There are now more than 160 wineries in the state, mostly concentrated in the Yadkin Valley, 90 minutes northwest of Charlotte. Shelton Vineyards is the original and largest winery, while many smaller wineries shine with esoteric grape varietals. Jones von Drehle has an excellent Petit Manseng while JOLO makes an award-winning Chambourcin rosé and red wine lovers will enjoy McRitchie’s Ring of Fire blend. Stay at JOLO’s one-room guest house or the Victorian-style The Belle House bed and breakfast.
Santa Barbara, California
The humility and pure passion of winemakers here is a far cry from the uptight tasting rooms and manicured feel of Napa Valley. Life here is still bucolic, romantic, and uncomplicated. Sample flights of award-winning estate-grown wines from Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyard at their joint tasting room in the Santa Rita Hills. Then try the Rhône-style wines at Qupé; their elegantly spicy syrah is a favorite. Stay at the enchanting Spanish Colonial–style Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, opened in 1927, and you’ll get to dine on fresh, local seafood at members-only Tydes Restaurant, where you can also enjoy a drink at the country’s only live-coral aquarium bar.
For more of the best under-the-radar wine regions in North America, including the treasures in Colorado's Grand Valley, visit Fodor's.