Lake Erie Shores and Islands, Ohio
Another bursting beacon of grape expectations can be found in Ohio’s appealing Lake Erie Shores and Islands region, with a heritage that actually dates back to the 1880s but has also seen a huge new wine wave in recent years.
“Since the first cellar of this historic winery was built in 1880, Firelands Winery has been taking advantage of this unique environment and harvesting their fruit from a place that enjoys a 200-day frost-free growing season—the Isle of St. George on the western basin of Lake Erie,” explains spokesperson Chad Whaley, who adds that Heinemans Winery on South Bass Island also dates back to that decade, founded by a German immigrant from that nation’s verdant Baden-Baden wine realm.
“In the last decade newer wineries have been popping up like, well, grapes,” Whaley adds. “Quarry Hill Winery sits perched 834 feet above Berlin Heights, while the Paper Moon Winery nests in the historic harbor town of Vermillion.”
Whaley says the weather, due greatly to the presence of freshwater Lake Erie, make the region an ideal area for grape-growing, and that connoisseurs are finally beginning to take notice, as reflected in the recent wine boom.
Verde Valley Wine Trail, Ariz.
Arizona is another area that doesn’t exactly bring whites and reds to mind, but Visit Phoenix Media Relations Coordinator Trish Lanteigne touts the Verde Valley Wine Trail as an exciting and accessible group escape.
“It’s an easy day trip—with outfitters based in Phoenix—to explore our wine trail,” Lanteigne says. “There are four Arizona wineries and four tasting rooms on the Verde Valley Wine Trail that offer a variety of skillfully crafted wines to satisfy any wine taster’s palate. One of the more famous winemakers is Maynard Keenan from the band Tool, who was a co-founder of the acclaimed Arizona Stronghold winery, which was profiled in the award-winning documentary Blood Into Wine.”
She adds that another notable tasting room along the trail is Pillsbury Wine Company, owned by New Zealand film director and winemaker Sam Pillsbury, who Lanteigne says is dedicated to making high-quality wine from grapes grown only in Arizona.