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Finger Lakes named America's best wine region

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This is second win in a row for New York wine region

While California undoubtedly produces excellent wine, it's got stiff competition these days. The United States is as of 2019 home to 244 American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs – grape-growing regions designated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. We asked a panel of wine industry experts to pick their favorite American AVAs and wine regions, and our readers voted for their favorites from the pool of 20 nominees.

  • Finger Lakes
    New York

    New York’s picturesque Finger Lakes region is home to three distinct American Viticultural Areas, Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake AVAs. Visitors to the area will find more than 130 wineries, many specializing in Riesling.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Verducci2

  • Leelanau Peninsula
    Michigan

    The Leelanau Peninsula is the second oldest American Viticultural Area in the state of Michigan, established in 1982. The area is now home to 26 wineries with 680 acres of wine grapes – a quarter of the state’s total. The cool climate produces wines that are often crisp, clean and balanced, as well as ice wine.
    Photo courtesy of Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

  • Temecula Valley
    California

    Temecula Valley is known for its diversity of varietals, with more than 50 types of grapes grown in the area. Wine grapes have been grown in the area for more than 200 years, but these days, the warm region is best known for its Italian and Rhone varietals.
    Photo courtesy of Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

  • Verde Valley
    Arizona

    Sedona’s Verde Valley features a dry, arid climate , dramatic temperature changes from day to night and volcanic soil, resulting in excellent conditions for growing grapes. Visitors to the region can explore its wineries and tasting rooms along the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / DOUGBERRY

  • Walla Walla Valley
    Washington

    Italian immigrants began growing wine grapes in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley in the 1850s. Today, this region features more than 100 wineries producing a range of varietals, most popularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The American Viticultural Area spreads across the border into Oregon as well.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Walla Walla

  • Monticello
    Virginia

    Back in the 1770s, Thomas Jefferson tried to make wine at this Monticello estate in what is now the heart of Central Virginia’s Monticello American Viticultural Area. When not sipping on European grape varietals, visitors to the region can explore the battlefields of the Richmond area, tour historic Charlottesville or stroll through revitalized downtown Lynchburg.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / lovingav

  • Mendocino
    California

    The Mendocino American Viticultural Area is dotted with legacy vineyards planted by immigrant families generations ago, giving birth to a wine region known for its Zinfandel, Alsatian whites and Mediterranean red varieties.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / nathanphoto

  • Lodi
    California

    Lodi’s classic Mediterranean climate creates excellent conditions for producing a diverse range of wines, though many area wineries focus predominately on red. Highlights of the more than 100 varieties in production include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Lodi

  • Texas Hill Country
    Texas

    The scenic Texas Hill Country surrounding the communities of Austin, Fredericksburg, Stonewall, Lampasas and New Braunfels is home to more than 50 different wineries. This American Viticultural Area is the second largest in the country, with varietals ranging from Viognier to Tempranillo to Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot to Chenin Blanc to Aglianico to Sangiovese to Mourvèdre, with increasing acreage being planted in warm weather grapes.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Dean_Fikar

  • Paso Robles
    California

    California's Paso Robles wine country comprises 11 different American Viticultural Areas exhibiting a diversity of microclimates and growing conditions. The most commonly grown varieties among the area’s 40,000 acres of vineyards are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Chardonnay.
    Photo courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

The top 10 winners in the category Best Wine Region are as follows:

  1. Finger Lakes - New York
  2. Leelanau Peninsula - Michigan
  3. Temecula Valley - California
  4. Verde Valley - Arizona
  5. Walla Walla Valley - Washington
  6. Monticello - Virginia
  7. Mendocino - California
  8. Lodi - California
  9. Texas Hill Country - Texas
  10. Paso Robles - California

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning wine regions!

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Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Shana Clarke

Shana Clarke

Shana Clarke

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Karen MacNeil

Karen MacNeil

Karen MacNeil

June Rodil

June Rodil

June Rodil

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

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