One of the best ways to explore the major and emerging winemaking regions of the U.S. is during state wine months. During a wine month, visitors can enjoy special wine tastings, festivals, and dinners across the state. And if you think wine months are limited just to major wine regions like California and Washington, think again. This year brings us 14+ wine months, with a brand new Maryland Wine Month joining the list.
Here’s a list of 2018 state wine months to look forward to in the U.S. The peak season is March through October, so gear up as a few are already rapidly approaching:
Taste Washington Wine Month: Retailers, hotels, restaurants and tasting rooms across the state will grant locals and visitors respite from the rainy month of March with special tastings and discounts. Parties, seminars, and tasting tours will be held in Seattle, while local farms also open their doors for wine experiences. The month culminates in a Grand Tasting, which includes a Grand Tasting with over 225 wineries and 65 restaurants.
NY Drinks NY: Explore the growing New York wine region with classes, tastings, and events. The month culminates in a Grand Tasting, with over 200 wines from 40+ wineries in the Finger Lakes, Long Island, the Hudson River Region.
Maryland Wine Month: With over 80 wineries, Maryland is throwing its first wine month in 2018. Join the Maryland Wine Month Challenge and have a “passport” stamped at each Maryland winery you visit in March to receive a discount to Maryland Wine Association events and a chance to win a wine lovers’ weekend in Maryland. There are also seminars from winemakers in different regions, special tastings, and events.
Oregon Wine Month: Enjoy winemaker-led tastings, release parties, seminars, and special sommelier pairings at restaurants, culminating in a Memorial Weekend Wine and Food Pairing featuring events across the Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, and Southern Oregon. Details forthcoming.
Michigan Wine Month: Explore the crisp whites and rosés of Michigan in special tastings and events across Michigan. Details forthcoming.
Idaho Wine Month: Discover the diversity of Idaho wines with over 75 events. Idaho boasts particular strength in dry whites such as viognier, riesling, and pinot grigio. Last year’s festivities included wine and yoga, concerts, and special tastings. The marquee event is Savor Idaho. Tickets sold out last year, so be ready when this year’s go on sale March 1st.
Ohio Wine Month: Experience Ohio’s aromatic whites, from Riesling and Pinot Grigio to Ice Wine, at a wide range of events from craft shows to hot air balloons and steak cookouts. Details will be posted as the event draws nearer on FindOhioWines.com.
Washington State Wine Month: No, it’s not a mistake — there are two wine months for Washington. Unlike its March counterpart, Taste Washington, Washington State Wine Month showcases the warmth of the summer months, enticing visitors out to the vineyards. A marquee event for the month is the Auction of Washington Wines, featuring picnics and private dinners with winemakers, a charity run, and a gala.
California Wine Month: This is the titan of wine months. Each of California’s winemaking regions, from Paso Robles to the Sierra Foothills, throws festivals, special tastings, winemaker dinners, and more. With over 4,700 wineries, this is an event that even touches retailers outside of the state.
North Carolina Wine Month
Enjoy the beauty of harvest season in North Carolina while discovering its growing wine industry. The state comes alive with festivals, grape stomps, special wine tasting tours and more. Or, delve deep into a regional specialty, Muscadine wine, with the 14th Annual North Carolina Muscadine Festival. More information to come.
Missouri Wine Month
Delve into unique native varietals such as Norton, Catawba, and Vignoles. In September, the state of Missouri opens its doors to visitors with harvest festivals, grape stomps, and more. The month culminates in the Great Northwest Wine Fest, where guests can sample Missouri Governor Award-winning wines. More information to come.
Texas Wine Month
Celebrate the success of the nation’s fourth largest wine producer with special tastings, dinners, and even Halloween events across the state. Or, gain access to full tastings at 51 Texas Hill Country Wineries with a Wine Passport for just $40 ($70 per couple). For a one-stop destination to sample 25+ wineries, check out the Fredericksburg Food & Wine Festival.
Virginia Wine Month
From Viognier, to Cabernet Franc, to Petit Verdot, discover the unique character of Virginia wines. Wineries will open their doors with harvest celebrations, live music, and special tastings. Even George Washington’s Mount Vernon will host a sunset tour and wine festival. More information to come.
Pennsylvania Wine Month
In addition to Cabernet Franc and Riesling, discover the bounty of emerging varietals coming from Pennsylvania, from Noiret to Vidal Blanc. Pennsylvania Wine Month marks the start of special tastings and happy hours, harvest along the wine trails, and winemaker meet and greets. More information to come.
As the U.S. wine industry continues to grow, so are the opportunities to explore and discover its wines. Know of another wine month that’s not on this list? Comment or send us a note, and we’ll add it in!
Photo courtesy of Washington State Wine.