Travel Picks: North America's top 10 wine destinations

NEW YORK Fri Oct 9, 2009 7:31am EDT

A waiter serves a glass of red wine from Spain during a tasting session at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia-Pacific region, in Hong Kong May 28, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Fraile

A waiter serves a glass of red wine from Spain during a tasting session at Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, the International Wine and Spirits Exhibition for the Asia-Pacific region, in Hong Kong May 28, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Victor Fraile

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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - European destinations are often in the spotlight when it comes to fine wines but North America holds it own when it comes to varietals, according to travel website TripAdvisor.

Editors at TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com) have compiled a list of North America's top 10 wine destinations after noticing a 10 percent rise in searches for "vineyards" over the past six weeks compared to a year ago.

Reuters has not endorsed this list.

A survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents found 48 percent planned to visit a U.S. vineyard this year, with 40 percent planning to do so this autumn. When it comes to taste, 59 percent prefer red wine, 43 percent want white and 12 percent rose.

1. Napa Valley, California

The undisputed American capital of wine has earned its reputation thanks to seemingly endless picturesque vineyards and world-class wines. The valley's scenery serves as the backdrop to both amazing large-scale wineries as well as smaller wineries.

2. Sonoma, California

Protected by mountains from excessive rainfall, Sonoma has an ideal climate for growing grapes on its numerous vineyards. Napa's neighbor is smaller in terms of wine production, but has highly sought-after wines and sweeping vistas.

3. Willamette Valley, Oregon

Oregon produces far less wine than its Californian counterparts, but distinguishes itself for its outstanding pinot noirs and other varietals. Willamette Valley, one of Oregon's major wine-growing regions, has more than 200 charming wineries.

4. Yakima Valley, Washington

The oldest wine region in Washington, diverse Yakima Valley can grow many varietals, including chardonnay and shiraz. Nearly half of the wine produced in Washington begins with Yakima Valley grapes, but the Valley is also home to orchards bearing a wide range of fruits.

5. Roseburg, Oregon

South of Willamette Valley, Roseburg has a slightly warmer climate and is situated in the Umpqua Valley, where impressive natural scenery is all around from waterfalls to wildlife. Pinot noir is the primary varietal here, but delicious pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay, and others can also be found.

6. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

A full-bodied merlot or pinot noir is not hard to find in Okanagan Valley, but sweet dessert ice wines are another treat produced in this wine region that features more than 100 different wineries. The area is also known for its fruit orchards and its clear, fresh lakes.

7. Finger Lakes, New York

New York's largest wine-producing region, the microclimate of the Finger Lakes region provides ideal conditions for growing a range of varietals. Award-winning wines and sparkling wines, come from an exceptionally peaceful, beautiful setting.

8. Traverse City, Michigan

The majority of its grapes are grown near the shores of Lake Michigan, making for the unique growing climate of the Traverse City area, an important wine-growing region in the Midwest. Baco noir, cabernet franc, and others are produced in Michigan Wine Country, along with rarer fruit wines and ice wines.

9. North Fork, Long Island, N.Y.

With its 4,000 acres of vineyards, Long Island Wine Country is gaining more attention for its wines and its intimate atmosphere. North Fork, on the eastern side of Long Island, is not only home to some celebrated local wines, but also to excellent fresh seafood and produce.

10. Oak Grove, Virginia

Virginia has a rich wine history dating back to Jefferson's Monticello wines in the 1770s, and nestled in Virginia's stunningly beautiful Northern Neck region, Oak Grove is home to one of Virginia's largest, and oldest, wineries.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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