Move over California wineries because another destination is shaping to be a playground for wine lovers. Leave it to the state for lovers, Virginia, to give wine enthusiasts the best of both worlds: nature and more than 300 wineries.

“Virginia is becoming a popular wine destination simply because we have so many different wine options,” Andrew Cothern, Director of Communication for Virginia Tourism Corporation, tells Travel Noire.

“When people think of wine country, they always think of Napa Valley or somewhere else in California. When we tell people that Virginia has a lot of wine, they’re always surprised and want to go out and try something different.”

According to Cothern, Virginia produces award-winning wines and unique experiences when people visit the vineyards.

Virginia has over 4,000 acres of grapes, ten wine regions, and eight American Viticultural Areas (AVA). The top five grape varietals produce some of the country’s best Chardonnays, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Vidal Blanc, and Viognier.

According to Wine Tourism, America’s oldest grape variety is found in Virginia and became available around 1830. Even with its longevity, more people are just discovering the unique wine scene and culture found across the state. With plenty of history, nature, and various regions to explore, here’s how to decide which Virginia wine region is best for you.

Exploring Virginia’s 10 Different Wine Regions

The best way to explore Virginia’s various wines is by tailoring a trip to your needs. The ten regions include the Blue Ridge, Central Virginia, Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore, Hampton Roads, Heart of Appalachia, Northern Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, Southern Virginia, and the Virginia Mountains.

For Wineries in the Mountains

Virginia is known for its stunning landscape, notably the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountains attract outdoor enthusiasts who are often wooed by its beauty. There’s no better way to explore the wineries amid the mountains than by simultaneously enjoying the outdoors with a hike, on a bike, or strolling through nature.

Shenandoah National Park offers beautiful mountain views. What people love the most is its iconic 105-mile stretch known as Skyline Drive. There’s a wine trail situated along Skyline Drive. It’s best to spend some time here exploring the shops, boutiques, and art galleries along the way. Other great mountain wineries include Afton Mountain Vineyards, Hazy Vineyards, Muse Vineyards, and Turk Mountain Vineyards.

For Wineries Near The Water

Virginia’s diverse landscape makes it a gem for wine tasting because every region offers something unique. For people who want to be near the water, Virginia is home to the mighty Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S. The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail is a top experience for both visitors and locals.

For urban wineries, purchase the Chesapeake Wine Trail passport to explore the various member wineries in the region. Wine tasters can “collect a stamp” for every winery they visit and be rewarded for collecting stamps by getting a percentage off wine purchases.

Explore Wineries Near The City

People who want to experience wine tasting near the city should consider the state’s capital, Richmond. Ashton Creek Vineyards and Spring Run Vineyards and less than 30 minutes from the city. After exploring the vineyards, head to beloved wine bars Jardin or C’est Le Vin Art & Wine Gallery for a nightcap.