Erik Neilson on March 11, 2017 1 Comment When people think of wine producing regions in America, California (particularly Napa Valley) is the first the first place to come to mind. It should come as no surprise, either, as some of the best wines in the country are produced in Napa and the surrounding area. The unfortunate side-effect of a focus on Napa, however, is that some of the many other great wine producing areas go overlooked. For wine lovers who aren’t afraid to learn more about America’s “deep cut” wine destinations, there’s a lot to love. Not only are prices lower than what you’ll be likely to find in big-name regions, but you won’t have to deal with the enormous crowds, either. Here are 10 wine regions that we consider to be some of the most underrated in the country, all of which are worth visiting at some point. 1. Hill Country (TX) Texas may not be at the top of many people’s lists when it comes to where to find a great glass of wine, but the Hill Country region is changing things for the better. It’s no doubt an “up and coming region,” where the finicky Merlot grape actually takes quite well to the climate and grows far better than in many other parts of the world. Hill Country wines are more old-world in style than what’s typically coming out of places like California these days — think earthy and dusty, rather than big, bold and fruity. For some of the best examples of how Texas is changing American wine, look no further than McPherson Cellars, who produce one of the country’s best-available bottles of Roussanne. 2. Moab (UT) If you’ve never been to Moab, you’re missing out on one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Framed by enormous sandstone canyons that are difficult to believe are real until you’ve been staring at them for hours on end, there are few more impressive locations to sit down and enjoy a bottle of wine with a loved one. It’s an outdoor playground, and if you’re really looking to see what the area has to offer, you’ll want to check out Castle Creek Winery. Approximately 14 miles outside of downtown Moab, Castle Creek produces some of the best white wine in the country. Their wines have won numerous medals over the years, particularly for the Petroglyph White and Monument Red. 3. Coastal New England New England may not boast the most agreeable climate or feature the best soil in the country for growing wine grapes, but the area actually has a longstanding tradition of producing wine. Take the Coastal Wine Trail, for example — nine wineries that stretch from Cape Cod through coastal MA and through Rhode Island and Connecticut. Start at Truro Vineyards in Cape Cod, and be sure to check out as many wineries on the “trail” as possible. If you’re not hesitant about heading even further north, you’ll find great value in the excellent wines of Cellar Door Winery in Maine, which recently opened a tasting room in Portland. 4. Prosser (WA) Washington wine has gained almost as much popularity over the years as that produced in California and Oregon. One area that many people are unfamiliar with, however, is Prosser, which is located just under 200 miles southeast of Seattle. The wines coming out of Prosser can be described as “deep” for best effect, as few stray towards the lighter end of the spectrum. This is the destination for those who are looking to find the best fruit-forward Syrah in the country, and the Merlot being produced in Prosser is otherworldly for a grape that has long been considered tricky to deal with. Bunnell Family and Milbrandt are your two wineries to check out first—there are plenty more after that. 5. Virginia Virginia deserves statewide recognition for its wine production, which can be traced back to the days of Thomas Jefferson. Though he never produced even a single bottle of wine after growing grapes for over 30 years at Monticello, he laid the framework for others who would go on to change the face of wine throughout the state. Vidal Blanc is a regional varietal that has not only become popular in Virginia but is also beginning to pick up steam throughout the rest of the country, and the Chardonnay coming out of Virginia is certainly not something to turn one’s nose up at. While driving through the state on your own is a great way to see the many wineries scattered throughout Virginia, there are plenty of companies offering guided tours that would be ideal for beginners and those who have never been to the state before. 6. Snake River Valley (ID) Those who find themselves in or near Boise, ID need not look very far to find some of the best Tempranillo being made in America. Snake River Valley’s high-desert landscape and arid climate is not too dissimilar from Spain itself, which may explain in some way why the wines coming out of the area are so stellar. Cinder and Sawtooth are two wineries in the area that aren’t to be missed, though there are other worth exploring if you have the time. 7. Yadkin Valley (NC) Like Virginia, North Carolina certainly has a history of winemaking practices. The Yadkin Valley area is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain, and it’s a visually stellar area that offers more than just views. This is what many people consider to be the epicenter of wine country in North Carolina, and the countless winery tours offered throughout the year are reason enough to visit. There are so many opportunities to taste wine in the Valley that it can be practically head-spinning, so don’t hesitate to settle into a guided tour if you’re not familiar with the area. Getting to know some of America’s wine destinations that are off the beaten path can be a great way to see parts of the country you might not otherwise visit — start with one of the options listed above.