Located on the same latitude as southern France, the Yakima and Columbia valleys of southeast Washington provide rich soil and plenty of sunshine for more than 200 wineries. Local specialty grapes trend toward whites like gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, but Washington wineries also produce ice wines and ports.
Plan a weekend of driving the Yakima Valley, about three hours from Seattle. Once in wine country, simply follow the winery signs on Yakima Valley Highway/Wine Country Road U.S. 12. Yakima, Richland, Kennewick and Pasco are the area hubs. At the Catch the Crush harvest festival in October, wineries open their doors to music, grape-stomping and unique tasting events. For maps and winery listings, check out WashingtonWineCountry.org and WineYakimaValley.org. — Photo by Cephas Picture Library/Alamy
Good soil, lots of sunshine and reliable rain make for fantastic wine country — and the United States has plenty, beyond the usual California vineyards. Lesser-known regions produce brilliant wines of all varieties. With a designated driver, a good local map and a taste for gastronomic adventure, try these seven wine regions — all within easy driving distance of a major city.