Ripe grapes hang heavy from their vines at the Viansa Vineyard and Winery in Sonoma County, California. This winery is part of one of the best wine regions in the USA.

For as long as wine has existed in France, Spain and Italy have been known for growing the best grapes and creating the best wine. But as Americans moved west in the 19th century they discovered the ideal landscapes and temperatures for developing their own vineyards and wineries. Now California by itself is the world’s fourth largest producer of wine. Visit the best wine regions in the USA with our helpful guide.

Just as Australians are proud of their delicious wine, so too, are the people of the USA. Often snubbed in the beginning, American wines have slowly but surely pushed their way to the forefront of high-quality wines. It’s so popular in fact that now every single one of America’s 50 states grows and produces wine. Yes, that’s right, all 50. No one has time to tour the entire North American continent, so here’s a list of some of the best American wine regions you probably haven’t heard of.

Sonoma County, California

Sonoma County is adjacent to the most famous of wine counties in America, Napa Valley, and was named the top wine destination in the United States in 2012. It boasts premium wine, farm-to-table dining, ancient redwood forests, quiet rivers and more than 50 miles of Pacific coastline. Smell, sip and smile as you taste varietals from award-winning wineries in Sonoma County, California.

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley wine is legendary. The best way to take in all the history and the finest wine is to hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The trains are fully restored from the 1910s-1950s and you can enjoy a freshly prepared meal during the three-hour jaunt. Its tracks were built back in the 1860s and they run through the heart of the world-famous wine region. Relax and look out the large picture windows as you go through Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena. Don’t forget to choose a winery tour or two and disembark from the Wine Train for a one-of-a-kind winery experience.

Willamette Valley, Oregon

Home to more than 300 wineries, the Willamette Valley is Oregon’s leading wine region and has two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards in its boundaries. It is known as one of the premier Pinot noir producing areas in the world but is also garnering positive worldwide attention for its white varietals as well. Plan a visit to Willamette to experience these exciting wines

Finger Lakes, New York

If you’d prefer to try wine not grown on the west coast, hop over to the Finger Lakes Wine Country in New York. You’ll be greeted by a quaint and charming atmosphere and a more hands-on and personal approach to winemaking. As you tour the region and make pit stops in some of its hundreds of wineries, you’ll meet the people growing the wine and find no need for making tasting appointments like you would need to in Napa Valley. The Finger Lakes Wine Country is a world-class wine producing region that is known for their aromatic white varieties like Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Walla Walla, Washington

When you visit Walla Walla, Washington, the first thing you will notice is their abundance of water, compared to the relatively dry desert that the northwest interior of the USA is known for. An oasis amidst the desert, the Walla Walla Wine Region makes use of its many aquifers and rivers and produces some of the finest wines in the country. On top of its fabulous wines, the region is home to the Institute of Enology and Viticulture, where up-and-coming winemakers and grape growers get hands-on instruction in the art and science of wine.

Don’t miss out on all the United States has to offer wine-lovers, and choose one or more of these can’t-miss wine regions to take in the splendour of the vineyards and wineries that call the United States home. Pair your award-winning wine with an award-winning travel insurance plan to ensure your tasting trips are protected from the unexpected. Cover your trip with travel insurance from Cover-More New Zealand.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Jim G