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Best Wine Region (2021)

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While California undoubtedly produces excellent wine, it's got stiff competition these days. North America is home to more than 250 grape-growing regions. We asked a panel of wine industry experts to pick their favorite North American wine regions.

  • Walla Walla Valley

    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

  • Finger Lakes

    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 Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council

  • Texas Hill Country

    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 Texas Hill Country

  • Temecula Valley

    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 Visit Temecula Valley

  • Valle de Guadalupe

    Valle de Guadalupe
    Baja California

    This wine region 75 miles south of the U.S. border is Mexico’s premier winemaking destination. This village in Baja California is surrounded by more than 100 wineries producing world-class biodynamic wines, with varietals largely from the Mediterranean.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / cesar fernandez dominguez

  • Dahlonega Plateau

    Dahlonega Plateau
    Georgia

    Dahlonega, known as the “Heart of Georgia Wine Country,” is located in the foothills of North Georgia and provides wine enthusiasts of all levels with both breathtaking mountain views and award-winning wines. The area is home to twelve wine tasting rooms and eight wineries, with one hundred acres of mountain elevations annually producing a selection of different European and American wine grapes.
    Photo courtesy of chadscc // Getty Images

  • Verde Valley

    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

  • Paso Robles

    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

  • Monticello

    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

  • Old Mission Peninsula

    Old Mission Peninsula
    Michigan

    Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula is home to just 10 wineries in the northwestern portion of the state along Grand Traverse Bay. The 19,200 acres of vineyards here grow mostly vinifera grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, though visitors can also sample ice wine.
    Photo courtesy of Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail

The top 10 winners in the category Best Wine Region are as follows:
  1. Walla Walla Valley - Washington
  2. Finger Lakes - New York
  3. Texas Hill Country - Texas
  4. Temecula Valley - California
  5. Valle de Guadalupe - Baja California
  6. Dahlonega Plateau - Georgia
  7. Verde Valley - Arizona
  8. Paso Robles - California
  9. Monticello - Virginia
  10. Old Mission Peninsula - Michigan

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

Congratulations to all these winning wine regions!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

Dynie Sanderson

Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Jill Barth

Shana Clarke

Shana Clarke

Shana Clarke

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Larissa Dubose

Larissa Dubose

Larissa Dubose
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