If you love wine and you’ve been longing to travel more in your golden years, why not marry the two and plan a trip to the one of the country’s many incredible wine destinations? Sure, you’ve heard of Tuscany, Italy, and Bordeaux, France—both worthy of the accolades they receive—but there are some gems right here in the U.S. you should add to your bucket list. Consider planning a visit to one or more of these five amazing wine regions:
Sonoma Valley/Napa Valley, CA – You’ve probably heard praise for the infamous twin valleys that make up California’s most renowned wine country, and for good reason. This beautiful area is home to more than 800 wineries (425 in Sonoma, 400 in Napa), producing mostly Chardonnay, Pinot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot varietals. You can plan a trip to both, which are just 20 miles apart. Sonoma offers miles of Pacific Ocean coastline and stunning natural beauty, while Napa has some of the best-known wineries and finest dining establishments in the world. Spend a week in each!
Paso Robles, CA – Named by Wine Enthusiast as one of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations in 2016, Paso Robles is halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco near the town of San Luis Obispo, California—and not far from Trilogy at Monarch Dunes. This former cowboy town has more than 200 wineries and produces more than 40 diverse grape varieties. Just 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, you can combine beach time and vineyard touring for the perfect escape.
Walla Walla Valley, WA – Washington is the second-largest premium wine producer in the U.S., with many unique wine regions within it, but there’s something special about Walla Walla in the southeastern part of the state. The region has the highest concentration of wineries in Washington—more than 100—and boasts rolling hills, beautiful lakes and rivers, a charming downtown, and much more. Red-wine-lovers will especially appreciate Walla Walla, which is known for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrahs.
Willamette Valley, OR – Wine Enthusiast crowned Oregon’s Willamette Valley with its Wine Region of the Year award for 2016, selecting the region over Champagne, France; Crete, Greece, Sonoma County, California, and Provence, France. If that alone isn’t reason to visit Oregon’s leading wine region, the 500+ wineries, celebrated Pinot Noirs (and other cool-climate varieties like Pinos Gris, Pinos Blanc, and Gewürztraminer), historic towns, and winding rivers should be.
Shenandoah Valley, VA – Anyone living The Good Life at Trilogy at Lake Frederick will tell you what a gorgeous and diverse area the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is—with natural beauty, rich culture, history, and of course, wine. The “Big Valley’s” 200 miles span the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. You could focus on the Shenandoah County Wine Trail or the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail—or make a week of it and do both.
If travel is one of your priorities for this stage of your life, plan your getaway to a wine region that piques your interest. And if you’re considering buying a new home at Trilogy in the year to come, be sure to ask about Explore 360, our new travel program that takes Trilogy Members from our communities across the country to fabulous places (like Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, the Mediterranean Coast, and New Zealand, all of which are on the calendar for 2017). Who knows: a wine excursion might be next!
As always, please drink responsibly.