America is one of the world’s leading wine producers. Getting out and communing with the vines is an increasingly popular getaway.
Is there a state in the union that doesn’t boast of its own “wine country” today?
The answer is no, because all 50 states have wine production now. Without entering into a discussion of which state’s wines offer the best in the way of fermented grape juice, you can bet that a weekend stay in any state’s wine country will offer quietude, a chance to relax in the great outdoors, luxurious accommodations, good food and probably some pretty good wine to boot, no matter what part of the country you are visiting. Here’s a sampling of luxury accommodations each set amid a unique wine-producing region, just minutes from the vineyards. So get comfy and maybe get a little toasted, because you’re already home for the weekend.
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Black Walnut Inn and Vineyard, Dundee, Oregon
This Willamette Valley destination is the realization of a dream created by the three members of the Utz family: Karen, husband Neal and son Kris, who planted the vineyard just 10 years ago.
They had hiked through an overgrown area and came upon a spectacular view of the Willamette Valley and surrounding vineyards with Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson in the distance. The combination of the central Willamette Valley location, along with the breathtaking view and the potential of creating an exceptional pinot noir presented the Utzes with an opportunity they could not refuse.
They have built a European-style resort on the upper section of their 42-acre property, and each of the nine suites available to guests are uniquely decorated and appointed. The inn’s location in the Dundee Hills between Newberg and McMinnville allows for the flexibility of day tripping to the central Oregon coast, the Columbia Gorge, Mount Hood, or the city of Portland.
And best of all, guests can explore the wineries and tasting rooms of more than 100 wineries within a 20-minute drive of the inn in Willamette Valley wine country. The central location offers easy access to numerous world-class wineries such as Argyle, Rocco, Lange, Domaine Drouhin and White Rose.
Each morning, guests receive a seasonal menu for a gourmet breakfast. The Utz family works with local farms to bring in the freshest Northwest ingredients, ensuring that the breakfasts are always unique and delicious. Yes, the Utzes’ free-range chickens lay the eggs on the premises.
Last year the vineyard reached a milestone as the Utz family bottled its first wine under the Utz Winery label, available for purchase this year for the pinot noir.
Black Walnut Inn and Vineyard
9600 N.E. Worden Hill Rd., Dundee, Ore.
Rooms from $125-$425/night. blackwalnut-inn.com
Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley, California
Why not experience California wine country right? Napa is probably the most famous and influential of all the wine-growing regions in America. It’s been a magnet for wine lovers and gourmands for decades and just seems to keep getting better. So when experiencing one of the world’s premiere wine areas, do it in style at Auberge du Soleil, right in the heart of Napa Valley.
Auberge du Soleil is an enclave just minutes from Napa’s bustling town of St. Helena with its popular shop- and restaurant-lined main street, and surrounded by top wineries such as Quintessa and Phelps. It also boasts one of the best restaurants in California wine country, with an extensive by-the-glass list for perfect pairings, so many guests never leave the premises.
The sweeping views from the property take in a broad swath of Napa real estate, surely helping Auberge du Soleil maintain its reputation as one of the great destinations that Napa Valley has to offer. The resort’s buildings are terraced down a steep hillside to give all units excellent views. All guest rooms feature contemporary artwork, down bedding, Italian linens, bath amenities and plush robes and slippers for relaxing in style. Private terraces allow private dining as well.
At check-in there is welcome wine with chocolates, cheeses and pastries. Every morning there are complimentary yoga and Pilates classes in an outdoor pavilion, and rooms include Nespresso coffee machines with a big assortment and plenty of capsules.
The spa experience begins with soaks in one of the resort’s three natural springs overlooking the valley. Choose your treatment from the menu, and end your day by the heated outdoor pool.
Auberge du Soleil began as a Napa Valley restaurant created by restaurateur Claude Rouas more than 30 years ago. Since then, Auberge has maintained its legacy as a culinary destination, where innovative menus inspired by the bounty of Napa Valley are paired with wine in ways that have created longtime devotees.
Executive chef Robert Curry’s menus highlight the bounty of Napa with house-made ingredients, as well as local produce. Choose from the restaurant, bistro and bar or private dining.
Auberge du Soleil, 180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford, Calif. Rooms from $845/night.
Hermann Hill, Hermann, Missouri
While the number of wine-growing areas in Missouri has multiplied geometrically in recent years, the Missouri River town of Hermann is forever associated with the state’s first commercially available wine, sold widely before Prohibition hit in the 1920s, and the first wine area to regain a foothold afterwards.
It’s a multi-faceted property that includes the romantic Hermann Hill Vineyard Inn & Spa overlooking vineyards growing Norton grapes and Hermann Hill Village, which features upscale bluff-top cottages overlooking the Missouri River. Each setting offers spectacular views, and all guests are treated to big country breakfasts and homemade cookies.
The eight suites in the Vineyard Inn & Spa feature private balconies or patios and luxurious private baths with whirlpool tubs for two and steam showers. Several Vineyard Spa suites also include private hot tubs, infrared saunas and fireplaces. The one-bedroom cottages offer full kitchens, decks with gas grills and hot tubs sporting beautiful views of the Missouri River, plus fireplaces.
Hermann Hill offers guests a complete spa experience, including massages in the special spa room overlooking the Missouri River. Or you can arrange for one on your unit’s own deck. Just indicate when making reservations that you want to schedule a spa treatment.
Hermann Area Wineries Today, there are seven award-winning wineries within a 15-mile radius of Hermann, forming the Hermann Vintners’ Association. Together, they promote the Hermann Wine Trail and sponsor special events throughout the year. All can be contacted through the website, hermannwinetrail.com: Adam Puchta Winery, Bias Winery, Dierberg Winery, Hermannhof Winery, OakGlenn Winery, Stone Hill Winery and Star Lane Winery.
Herman Hill Vineyard & Inn
711 Wein St., Hermann, Mo.
Rooms from $216/night. hermannhill.com
Casa Somerset, Paola, Kansas
Kansas is known more for wheat than for grapes, but don’t tell Mike and Christine Hursey, owners of Casa Somerset in nearby Paola, Kansas. The Hurseys are known for checking strangers in and having them leave as close friends a few days later. Their love of Italian culture, cuisine and viticulture is plainly evident in the décor and cuisine at Casa Somerset.
Nestled on six acres outside Paola, the bed and breakfast inn enjoys a country setting located near three Miami County wineries. The four rooms are decorated meticulously in different themes such as the Presidential Room, Winery Room, Raphael Room and the Godfather Room. Each has a garden or vineyard view. All of the rooms have a rustic Tuscan feel to them. Each has a private bath and two entrances, one into the main living area, as well as a private exterior access with an outdoor sitting area. All rooms feature central heat and air conditioning, hair dryers, makeup mirrors, and wireless Internet access. Room rates include a full breakfast.
Co-owner Michael Hursey is an accomplished chef, having trained with noted food professionals in the U.S. and in Italy. He’s dedicated to supporting local food producers and hosts many special dinners as well as providing catering services.
“We will also serve dinners for $25 per person plus gratuity upon request. We believe in using local foods as often as possible to create meals you will long remember,” Michael Hursey says. The website for Casa Somerset notes special dining events in advance for which the entire Hursey family helps prepare. Several wineries are located near Casa Somerset, including White Wind Farms (whitewindfarms.com), Somerset Ridge Vineyard (somersetridge.com), and Nighthawk Vineyard (nighthawkwines.com).
16315 W. 287th St., Paola, Kan.
913-557-9288 Rooms from $145/night.