The Foodie’s 5 Must-See Wine Country Destinations
Discover your next gustatory adventure, from farm-fresh fare in New York’s Finger Lakes to Pinot feasts in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Virginia’s capital city, about a 40-minute drive to nearby wineries, is bursting with good eats. Carbo-load at Sub Rosa Bakery, which uses a stone mill and wood-fired masonry oven to create naturally leavened breads, plus tarts and pastries. At L’opossum, expect unexpected dishes like cider-braised rabbit with gingersnap spaetzle, as well as eclectic décor (think possum taxidermy and a poodle clock). Head to Heritage for housemade charcuterie (pictured) and globe-skipping dishes like Bourbon-barrel-smoked pork belly with kimchi. Find an all-Virginia wine list at The Roosevelt in historic Church Hill, plus playful regional takes on classics, like Southern poutine (French fries topped with pimento cheese and sausage gravy).
Called “Little L.A.” by locals, this Central Coast town boasts cool indie eateries and warm hospitality. Grab a sourdough croissant from Bob’s Well Bread Bakery for breakfast, then fill a picnic basket with goods from the walk-in market at Bell Street Farm for an alfresco wine-tasting lunch at nearby vineyards. For dinner, hit the restaurant at the historic Old West-style 1880 Union Hotel (pictured) for craft cocktails and empanadas (one of the owners is Argentinean), or head to Full of Life Flatbread on weekends when they convert the bakery into a restaurant for unusual pizzas (recent toppings included smoked beef tongue and bone marrow though they vary weekly). Bonus: Many of the local wineries have boutique tasting rooms in town; two of the best are Municipal Winemakers and Casa Dumetz Wines.
Rolling hills dotted with vineyards, hazelnut orchards and fields of berries set a pastoral scene in this city located at the northern end of the Willamette Valley. Fine dining options abound: JORY at The Allison Inn & Spa offers a menu for Pinot-philes that incorporates ingredients from its 2½-acre kitchen garden. The Painted Lady (pictured), set in a restored Victorian home, has a refined tasting menu with local and international wines to match. At Recipe, produce comes from within a 10-mile radius, and Chef and Co-owner Paul Bachand cures his own meats and makes his own cheese (the burrata is a must).
The Finger Lakes boast many bucolic wine country towns, but Hector, situated on the east side of Seneca Lake, has a high concentration of quaint “U-pick” farm stands, many owned by local vintners like Davis Farms, and several outstanding eateries. The menu at Stonecat offers locally inspired dishes like strawberry-sweet pea risotto, and lists farms, purveyors and suggested wine pairings on its menu. For winery dining, head to Red Newt Bistro. Lunches are simple, satisfying affairs like artisanal cheese and cured meat plates. Kirton’s Farm Market is a country store that offers more than 50 cheeses, local honeys and hot sauces, plus sandwiches and pulled pork.
This pretty town in southeastern Washington provides easy access to some 100 vineyards, and its downtown hosts a handful of modern tasting rooms. Start with huevos rancheros and Stumptown coffee at Bacon & Eggs, feast on lamb flatbread and stuffed squid at Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen or splurge on a wine-focused meal at the upscale Marc Restaurant at the Marcus Whitman Hotel. For casual eats, AK’s @ the Co-op is a spin-off of a gourmet food truck housed in a former gas station, while Colville Street Patisserie ends eating adventures on a sweet note with rhubarb ice cream and molasses cookies.
- 1Richmond, Virginia
- 2Los Alamos, California
- 3Newberg, Oregon
- 4Hector, New York
- 5Walla Walla, Washington