Where to Take Your Girlfriends to Wine Country Beyond Napa
It’s always the right time to whisk your girlfriends away for a gals trip and what could be better than one centered around wine? If you and your pals have put the days of all-night parties in Las Vegas and beer bike crawls in Nashville behind you then it’s time to head out to wine country!
There’s no better way to celebrate your friendship than pampering yourselves with wine tastings and spa days. Plan a girls weekend getaway that your friends will love at these wine experiences around the country!
Sonoma County, California
The Wine Road in Northern Sonoma County is a must-do experience! Just be sure to hire a taxi so none of your pals get stuck being the designated driver.
Made up of 200 wineries throughout various valleys which include Alexander, known for cabernet sauvignon, Dry Creek, one of the smallest American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) but where the best zinfandels are made, and Russian River where you’ll find incredible chardonnay and pinot noir.
California’s oldest continuously family-owned winery, Gundlach Bundschu, is also located in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Gundlach Bundschu is known for cabernet, merlot, and other terroir-driven varietals. The 256-acre sustainably-farmed hillside ranch has a selection of tour and tasting options to enjoy. Make a day out of it and bring a picnic to enjoy as you take in breathtaking wine country views!
Beyond wine tasting, there is quite a lot to do in the area including fine dining, biking, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, shopping, and visiting art galleries, parks, museums, and more. Plus, the Wine Road is less than an hour’s drive from San Francisco making it easy to combine the trip with a few days in the city.
Santa Maria Valley, California
For the California wine country experience without the hefty price tag, visit Santa Maria Valley in California’s Central Coast. There are 34 wine tasting rooms within a 30-minute drive—hire a chauffeur so everyone can partake in the wine tasting. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford a private driver for the day then take a ride on the award-winning Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley through the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, which includes 13 unique wineries. The area is well known for chardonnays, pinot noirs, and syrahs.
Yakima Valley, Washington
Yakima Valley Wine Country in Washington is just as great as Napa or Sonoma in California, but much more affordable. There are more than 120 wineries and six AVAs in just 70 short miles of 17,000 acres of producing vineyards. Notable Pacific Northwestern winemakers in the area include Walla Walla, Woodinville, and Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Finger Lakes, New York
Visit some of the 120+ wineries in the Finger Lakes region of central New York. After you’ve had your fair share of wine, get out and explore the area’s women’s rights heritage! This is a historic spot for gender equality as the first Women’s Rights Convention was held here in 1848. You can pay a visit to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park which was the birthplace of the suffrage movement. The Finger Lakes was once home to female pioneers like Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage.
Pennsylvania Wine Regions
If your gal pals love wine and chocolate (I mean, who doesn’t?) whisk them away for a cross-state trip through Pennsylvania. Start in Pittsburgh for a dose of history and then head two hours north to Lake Erie Wine Country to visit Mazza Vineyards. After the scenic drive to the winery, you’ll have the chance to learn about winemaking and taste their award-winning wine. Make a pit stop in Philadelphia for a cheesesteak and then head to the nearby Brandywine Valley or onwards to Lehigh Valley wine trail.
Midwesterners will love a girls trip to Kansas City for a bit of jazz music, world-famous BBQ, and plenty of wine tastings. Kansas was one of the biggest wine-producing states in the country in 1880 — and then was the first state to pass Prohibition a year later. In Old Overland Park, you can take your crew to taste wine at Aubrey Vineyards. This was the first winery in Overland Park and shares the space with a sweet vintage record store, Vinyl Renaissance. Really blow your gals away by playing some of their favorite throwback tracks as you taste various local wines. Finally, head on over to Miami County to catch a ride on a trolley to the area’s top three wineries!
See – there’s so much more to wine to discover than just around Napa Valley! Get creative and grab a glass at these lesser-visited American wine-centric destinations!