How to Enjoy a Wine Country Vacation

Wine industry insiders spill on tips for your next boozy vacation

Doc Lawrence, Wines Down South

It’s not necessary to go West to enjoy a wine country adventure in the U.S. There are wineries from Arizona’s Verde Valley to Colorado to Vermont to Virginia, and beyond. And as noted wine writer and Southern storyteller Doc Lawrence points out, the South was a booming wine region prior to Prohibition. Little-known grape varieties are flourishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, former Carolina tobacco plantations, and all over picturesque Virginia.

"North Carolina’s agricultural forces substituted vineyards for tobacco farming and the switch has paid off handsomely. The Tar Heel state is literally awash in wine production, with the Yanking Valley, once home to actor Andy Griffith leading the way," Lawrence reports.

For American history buffs, wine tasting at Georgia’s Three Sisters and Tiger Mountain should be full of significance, as it offers a chance to connect with one of America’s founding fathers by partaking of the grape which he once grew.

"Cynthiana, also known as Norton, could almost be described as Thomas Jefferson’s wine," says Lawrence. Cynthiana-Norton was the native grape of the Cherokee, and after it was domesticated during Jefferson’s time, it became Georgia’s most popular grape. Today, only select wineries grow it — not only in Georgia, but also in Florida, Missouri, and a few other states.

For a more complete introduction to the wine regions of Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina, read these regional tasting notes by Doc Lawrence.

— Lena Katz, JustLuxe


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