There’s a lot of context to wine drinking. A good wine can taste downright transcendent when it’s sipped from within the cozy confines of a barrel room or high atop a vineyard overlooking a picturesque valley. Plus, there’s something extra special about enjoying something that was made right there on the property.
There was a time when finding this kind of wine-tasting scenario stateside was tricky. Not anymore, as the industry is not only booming but doing so in style. Here are some of the most eye-catching American winery estates.
Set in a treehouse along the banks of the Applegate River in southern Oregon, Augustino is canopy-level real estate. It’s one of the prettiest parts of the state and home to an esteemed wine scene often overshadowed by the Willamette Valley. If you like a lodge-like environment with a nice Syrah or refreshing Pinot Gris in hand, add it to your itinerary. Augustino is the adult Swiss Family Robinson dream come to life.
Washington winery Januik is a shining example of minimalist architecture to great effect. Just outside of Seattle in Woodinville, it features a neat production space and a clean and approachable tasting room. While made in-house, a lot of the wines feature fruit grown in viticultural hotbeds located elsewhere in the state, offering a nice range to the tasting experience. The sleek, geometric, and concrete establishment feels modern and surprisingly welcoming. When doom truly sets in, this is the stylish bunker you’re going to want to spend your last days in.
Another southern Oregon standout, Cowhorn specializes in Rhone-style wines like Viognier, Syrah, and Grenache. The tasting room is the first of its kind in America to meet the zero-energy, zero-toxin Living Building Challenge. In other words, it’s sustainable, incredibly appealing, and home to some genuinely great wines.
Napa has its share of attractive winery estates but this one might take the cake. Odette Estate is designed by Juan Carlos Fernandez and is a LEED Gold Certified estate. The intimate production space is built into the surroundings in the manner of an Icelandic turf house. The adjacent tasting room is its own sanctuary, tucked into a beautiful topographical fold in the Stags Leap District.
Eye-catching doesn’t always mean new and shiny. Pontotoc proves that some things are timeless. The label, set in the heart of Texas Hill Country in Fredericksburg, features big and balanced barbecue-friendly reds. Its origins go back to the 1870s during the height of the German immigration (similar to the heritage of much of the population in the heart of Texas barbecue country). Pontotoc’s Weingarten feels about as old, a quaint and delightful cottage that’s perfect for outdoor sipping, something the Lone Star State does well.
Rumor has it, there are no right angles in Sokol Blosser’s woodsy tasting room. The Dundee Hills, Oregon label, first established in the 1970s, is revered for its elegant Pinot Noirs and approachable white blends. The new-ish tasting room is like a gorgeous collage made of wood, ushering in tons of natural light and affording intriguing views of the surrounding vineyards.
Hermann J. Wiemer
This New York winery is known for its Rieslings but the building is just as noteworthy. The winery is set in a beautifully refurbished barn with sky-high ceilings and amazing panoramas of the surrounding farmland and nearby Seneca Lake.
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