Photograph courtesy Justin Vineyard
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Justin Vineyard, Paso Robles, California

Photograph courtesy Justin Vineyard

Top 10 Spring Vineyards

Savor the pleasures that come with a spring visit to these outstanding wineries.

From the National Geographic book Four Seasons of Travel

Inniskillin Wines, Canada
Canada is the epicenter of ice wine, which is made from grapes harvested in subfreezing temperatures, which concentrates their flavor, complexity, and sugars. Inniskillin helped pioneer the process in Canada, and its tastings show surprising range. Its on-site restaurant pairs food expertly.

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Oregon
Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become one of the world’s celebrated wine destinations. The reason: Pinot Noir. While you’ll find dozens of notable producers, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars may be one of the prettiest (and friendliest). With bands of windows and a floating roofline, the tasting room and its views are as memorable as the wines.

Justin Vineyards and Winery, California
Even beer drinkers know that Napa and Sonoma produce great wines, but recently attention has turned south. Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast produces rich reds, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. At Justin Vineyards and Winery, you’ll find a striking Tuscan-style tasting room, restaurant, and B&B, along with its Cabernet-based Isosceles blend.

Pedernales Cellars, Texas
The Texas Hill Country, with its rolling countryside and spring-fed rivers, once evoked images of the Wild West. But now it has vineyards, too, and Pedernales Cellars offers one of the prettiest places to take it all in. Come at sunset to sip award-winning Viogniers and Tempranillos. John Wayne never had it this good.

Laura Hartwig, Chile
About two hours south of Santiago, vineyards crowd the compact Colchagua Valley between the Andes and the Pacific. By all means, taste the Carménère, Chile’s signature grape long misidentified as Merlot. At the boutique winery Laura Hartwig, visitors pass polo fields and tennis courts before arriving at a traditional-style bodega.

Cavas Recaredo, Spain
Spain calls its sparkling wine Cava because the French have claim to the more familiar name Champagne. But the bubbly produced in the Penedès region south of Barcelona is just as festive. Unlike the area’s industrial-scale wineries, Cavas Recaredo still produces by hand and uses Earth-friendly biodynamic methods.

Domaine du Daley, Switzerland
You’ll marvel at the Lake Geneva view, but don’t forget the vineyard. Swiss wines are often overlooked because the country keeps most to itself and exports very little. Domaine du Daley, which dates from 1392, grows 12 grape varieties. Make sure to sip the Chasselas, a dry, fruity wine perfect with raclette cheese.

Vecchie Terre di Montefili, Italy
“Super Tuscan” sounds like a comic book hero, but it’s a type of Italian wine that once flaunted the regulations governing blends and labeling. Sample some at family-run Vecchie Terre di Montefili, south of Florence. In addition to the super Tuscans, try the Chianti Classico—it’s a pure 100 percent Sangiovese, instead of a blend.

Cramele Recas, Romania
The Roman god Bacchus supposedly came from Romania, and even now Cramele Recas, among the hillside vineyards in the Transylvania region, produces surprisingly good but inexpensive Cabernet Sauvignons and white blends. And its vampire and werewolf labels are just fun.

Seresin Estate, New Zealand
Sauvignon Blanc put New Zealand on the wine map—and gave visitors another reason to visit the country’s scenic South Island. At Seresin, grapes grow without pesticides and are harvested by hand. The vineyard offers tastings at outdoor tables among the vines and a chance to sample the internationally trained winemaker’s olive oil as well.