Wine-tasting is for thirty-somethings what beer pong is for college students — a fun, entertaining excuse to drink in the middle of the day. It’s also a great excuse to travel. We searched the globe to find the best international wine destinations for everyone from first-timers to full-blown oenophiles. Even the most ardent domestic beer drinker will be sniffing the bouquet and scribbling tasting notes after visiting any one of these wineries.
The Up 'n' Comer: Walla Walla, Washington
Why Go: The Willamette Valley in Oregon has long been thought of as the up-and-comer in the American wine industry — so long, in fact, that it can hardly be called an up-and-comer anymore. If you’re looking for start-up wine country, Walla Walla is the place to be. An intimate little college town, Walla Walla is far less overwhelming than many wine destinations, but it can easily compete with some of the best America has to offer. Combine your love of wine and cars (without drinking and driving) by heading out the first weekend in September for Wheelin’ Walla Walla Weekend, when you can stroll around historic downtown’s dozens of tasting rooms while checking out classic cars.
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Top Wine: Ignore Paul Giamatti. Merlot is making a comeback. Specifically, L’Ecole No. 41 Winery 2008 Estate Merlot.
Don’t Miss: Charles Smith’s tasting room downtown encompasses everything that makes Walla Walla more fun than your average wine destination. Both modern and rustic, Charles Smith also places a high priority on entertainment; Blue & BBQ Thursdays combine live blues, good barbecue, and great wine.