Most of the people connect Champagne with the most solemn and happiest moments of their lives. However, this wine is an excellent choice for every opportunity. The United States is a fourth-largest wine producer in the world. Approximately 90% of the entire US wine production, including sparkling wine, is manufactured in California at 107 ‘American viticulture areas’. With more than 350,000 bottles a year, Washington ranks 2nd, and New Mexico is in the third place with about 125,000 bottles. The production in Oregon is pretty modest, but despite that, this state occupies an excellent fourth place among manufacturers of wine.
In 1976, in a blind tasting in Paris, connoisseurs, mostly from France, agreed that America’s wines had taken place among the best on the planet. Nowadays, you have many opportunities to enjoy the exciting, luxurious journey while tasting the most exquisite wines produced in this beautiful and prosperous country. Let’s take a look at the best winemakers for sparkling wine lovers in the US and discover why the taste of wine is always different on the soil where the vine is grown. Plus, I will tell you a secret. You can make a trip more exciting if you come to the winery by cruise!
1 – Napa and Sonoma, California
When we talk about wines, America’s best are undoubtedly Napa and Sonoma. Escape from San Francisco and join one of the all-day tours organized to most exciting wineries in California, including both small, family wineries and well-famous ones. It is an incredible opportunity to enjoy tasting probably the best wines that are produced on the new continent. You can come here whenever you want over a year, but visiting this region during the harvest season is always something special.
Make a tour of barrel rooms and vineyards, discover the way of the wine-making process, and taste wines you have never heard of before while having lunch in some charming place there. If you prefer summer, just come and be sure not to miss Auction Napa Valley, when the selection of the best-produced wines is organized.
The best wine destinations here are definitely the Chandon caves, where you simply mustn’t miss a glass of rich Étoile bubbly; Silverado Vineyards with top-notch movie poster collection you can enjoy while drinking wine with sophisticated taste; and Sterling with stunning views of the valley. During a break between the two tastings, go to eat in a café in Healdsburg, grab fluffy English muffins as a dessert, spend an afternoon lounging at the pool, and get a massage at Charlie Palmer’s Hotel.
2 – Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Many people are surprised to hear that New Mexico, famous for chilli, is considered the place where American’s wine originated. Spanish missionaries began to cultivate vines near the Rio Grande in 1629. On the south, in the heart of the desert, you will find Gruet Winery, the place where a first Champagne winemaker started production of American sparkling wines thirty-two years ago.
Come here to find out everything possible about the process of making sparkling wine, feel that unique delightful and yeasty smell of fermentation, and discover why the climate of this region is ideal for vine growing and best for making sparkling wine. The crucial thing to get lively, natural and intense wine is cyclic changing of chilly nights and warm days which slow the ripening process and keep the acidity and full-flavor in grapes. That is the right way to get grapes without increased sugar levels. Go for an excellent meal in Geronimo, get a room at Desert View Inn, and enjoy an extraordinary experience for the lifetime.
3 – Willamette Valley, Oregon
While visiting Portland, probably the most alluring and funky city in the US, don’t miss the opportunity to make a wine tour to Willamette Valley. This region, with seven American viticulture areas and three hundred wineries, is one of the largest US producers of wine grape. Along with a merited reputation, which they have thanks to extraordinary Pinot Noir, this valley has become well-known as a producer of revolutionary good sparkling wine. Amazingly, thirteen of them are totally organic, nineteen are bio-dynamic, and half of all are dog-friendly.
Even though they have been making excellent sparkling wine since the 19th century, the more significant production has begun relatively recently. Thanks to favorable cool Oregon climate, they plant lower sugar grapes, and a result is a production of premium sparkling wine. Find a way to organize your vacation at harvest season and come here to try some of their rare sparkling wines which are definitely among the best in the States. Whatever of numerous family-owned wineries you choose, you won’t go wrong. After tasting their best sparkling wine, go to the Painted Lady for lunch. If you want to stay here for a few days, I recommend you the romantic Stoller Family Estate Guesthouses. You will enjoy there.
4 – Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan
If you are looking for the best place to taste wine in Michigan, most connoisseurs will recommend you Traverse City with twenty-four great wineries. The fact is that some world-rated wines are produced here, taking advantage of the fantastic and distinctive micro-climate. However, if you are a passionate lover of sparkling wines, you should go a little bit northern and visit some of the twenty-five wineries at the Leelanau Peninsula on the shores of Lake Michigan. No matter if you choose to visit the Northern Loop or Sleeping Bear Loop, you will get an opportunity to taste the two best sparkling wines for free. For the ultimate experience, spend a weekend at one of three locations of Black Star Farms on the peninsula. Spend a night in the inn where you can get an excellent meal too.
5 – Finger Lakes, New York
More than a hundred wineries are packed in the most extensive wine region in the US. Except for Riesling and Gewürztraminer, this region is also known for its production of sparkling wines. The chilly weather in this area is perfect for the vine. Therefore, it is not surprising that over 140 excellent wineries located here. Some of them are world-famous for its recognized and esteemed wines that can compete with top-quality sparkling wines produced in France and Italy.
Pick out your favorite tour, including Cayuga Wine Trail, the oldest organized wine trail in the country. Come to try the prime wines produced here since Dr. Konstantin Frank initiated the ‘Vinifera Revolution’ after he had discovered some of the first-rate European varietals. After tasting, go for lunch at FLX Wienery or Kindred Fare. If you have decided to stay here for a while, I highly recommend Belhurst Castle and Winery as an ideal place for spending a night.
Useful Tips for International Travelers
Until recently, every international traveler who wanted to visit the USA had to obtain a visa. Today, passengers from countries covered by the ‘Visa Waiver Program’ only need to have a digital chipped passport and to check ESTA application status before traveling. It is an automated system established on January 12, 2009, by the US government that regulates your passenger eligibility to arrive in the United States and stay there for a while.
‘How long is my ESTA valid?’ is the most common question the passengers from intercontinental flights ask. The answer is that ESTA is valid for two years. During that period, citizens of the Visa Waiver Countries can travel to the States as many times as they want without any limitation. However, keep in mind that this application allows you to stay in the United States without a break for maximum three months (precisely 90 days). Bon voyage!