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Twenty East Coast Wines that Rival Napa Valley

During the summer of 2020 (FML), I was preparing for an online wine class on east coast wines. While doing research, it struck me how far we’ve come, even in the last year. I made it a personal challenge to find twenty wines that prove that East Coast wineries are ready for primetime. These are the east coast wines that rival Napa Valley. My friends, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

Top New York Wineries

 Hermann J. Wiemer

The wines are stunning, pure Rieslings that speak of Seneca Lake with more than a little reference to the Mosel.

Our top pick is Hermann J. Wiemer Reserve Dry Riesling

Channing Daughters

This South Fork, Long Island winery is run by winemaker Christopher Tracy, a natural winemaker and delightful lunatic.

Our top pick is Channing Daughters “Mosaico” White

Dr. Konstantin Frank

The winery that changed the course of winemaking in the Finger Lakes. Located on Keuka Lake.

Our top pick is Dr. Konstantin Frank Old Vines Pinot Noir

Damiani Wine Cellars

Located on the eastern shores of Seneca Lake, they excel at red wine production like no other Finger Lakes winery. 

Our top pick is Damiani  Cabernet Sauvignon 

Harbes Family Vineyard

In 2003, Harbes Vineyard was planted on a boulder-strewn, south-facing slope near the coast of Long Island Sound (North Fork)

Our top pick is Harbes Family Vineyard Hallock Lane Merlot

Bedell Cellars

Vineyard & farm located in the small hamlet of Cutchogue, on the North Fork of Long Island.

Our top pick is Bedell Cellars Cabernet Franc

Top Pennsylvania Wineries

Galen Glen Winery

Based in the Lehigh Valley, they have the oldest Gruner vineyard in America, planted in 2003.

Our top pick is Galen Glen “Stone Cellar” Gruner Veltliner

Va La Vineyards

The original natural wine destination in PA.  Their vineyards, which was planted in 1997 with an eccentric assortment of Italian varietals.

Our top pick is Va La “Prima Donna” Orange Wine

Waltz Vineyards

Waltz Vineyards was established in 1997 by Jan and Kimberly Waltz. The vineyards are situated on a hill between Lancaster and Lebanon

Our top pick is the Waltz “Crow Woods” Cabernet Sauvignon

Fero Vineyards

Estate vineyard in the Susquehanna River Valley. Planted in 2012 to Eastern European varietals. 

Our top pick is the Fero Saperavi

Mazza Vineyards

Since 1973, Mazza has been producing wine on Lake Erie. A pioneer in east coast wines, the recent move towards their Italian roots is welcome. 

Our top pick is Mazza Vineyards Teroldego

Penns Woods Winery

Vineyards are all on gentle slopes at a low altitude about a half-hour from Philly. Slowly becoming PA’s cult winery.*

Our top pick is Penns Woods Ameritage Reserve

Top Virginia Wineries

King Family Vineyards

Located in the Monticello AVA, the winery is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Our top pick is King Family “Skin Contact” Viognier

Stinson Vineyards

Family-owned estate winery in the Monticello AVA. They specialize in small-lot wines.

Our top pick is Stinson Vineyards Rosé of Mourvèdre

RdV Vineyards

Earning very high ratings in the Wine Advocate for red wines, this is a unique winery in the Middleburg AVA. For east coast wines, this is closer to Napa then you could imagine.

Our top pick is the RdV Vineyards “Rendezvous” Bordeaux Blend

Barboursville Vineyards

Established in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, whose family has been producing wines throughout Italy since 1821. Located in the Monticello AVA

Our top pick is Barboursville Vineyards Reserve Nebbiolo

Top New Jersey Wineries

Alba Vineyards

Alba in the Warren Hills AVA is producing some of the best Pinots and Chardonnays on the East Coast right now.

Our top pick is Alba Vineyards “Grand Reserve” Chardonnay

William Heritage Winery

Located in the Outer Coastal Plain AVA. A family produce farm since 1853, the vineyard was first planted in 1998. Fmr. Winemaker Sean Comninos is a WSoP Grad.

Our top pick is William Heritage Vintage Brut

Unionville Vineyards

Originally part of the largest peach orchard in the United States, the vineyard was first planted in 1988. Excellent Syrah & Pinot Noir.

Our top pick is Unionville “Hunterdon Mistral” Rose

Beneduce Vineyards

A family farm in North Jersey since 2000, the vineyard was first planted in 2009, and opened to the public in 2012.

Our top pick is Beneduce Vineyards “Blue 2” Blaufrankisch

Amalthea Cellars

Run by the iconoclastic owner and winemaker Louis Caracciolo. He’s been making Bordeaux blends in Jersey longer than anyone. 

Our top pick is Amalthea Cellars “Europa 1” Bordeaux blend

Working Dog Winery

Hands-down one of the great wineries of the East Coast. They are legit rock stars in the Jersey wine scene now.

Our top pick is the Working Dog Syrah

Top Vermont Wineries

Fable Farm Fermentory

Farm-based winery producing aged wines, ciders and vinegars, and runs a CSA.

Our top pick is Fable Farm Fermentory “Pan” Red

Shelburne Vineyard

Founder Kenneth Albert planted some of Vermont’s first wine grapes in 1998, with its tasting room opening in 2008.

Our top pick is Shelburne “Iapetus Figure 1” Pet Nat

Have a Favorite East Coast Winery?

Gift us your insights in the comments below!

19 thoughts on “Twenty East Coast Wines that Rival Napa Valley”

  1. Good afternoon. I own a import Company in Panama. Need an exporter/wholesaler offering an array of East Coast wines for exports via Miami Florida where we will take possession. Looking for decent price-oriented drinkable wines, up to top quality wines under $50/$60 / bottle. If anyone can help, appreciate it

    Reply
  2. Jonathan Edwards Winery in Eastern Ct is fantastic. They combine locally grown grapes for some vintages and also source grapes (crush in Napa and ship juice in refrigerated trucks east for cellaring in Ct). They should be on your list!

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  3. I would certainly add Michael Shaps near Charlottesville – trained in Beaune, fabulous Chardonnay and Meritage – lovely Petit Manseng

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  4. Would be nice if you added weblinks to each of the wineries cited, and added the town location in the description

    Reply
  5. Though many others come to mine I couldn’t leave out Turdo Vineyards & Winery from any list of great NJ wines. Their Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera are amazing (as are many other reds there).

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  6. I would highly recommend Boundary Breaks Winery on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes for a variety of Riesling styles.

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      • Ravines and Red Tail Ridge in FLX are some of the best I’ve found on the east coast.

    • Blue Mountain Vineyards missed this list! I personally love them! Great choices on the Jersey wines on William Heritage (have to try out the spinach dip! Best in the world! To die for!) And Almathea Cellars…Emilio’s red is AMAZING!

      Reply
  7. Going to college in the finger lakes I have tried many of the wineries. My personal favorite is Atwater. We came home with wines from 7 vineyards and we kept going back to their bottles. I like their crisp Riesling with flavors of green fruit and mineralogy, but I’m an even bigger fan of their Vignoles! Love the little bit of sweetness mixed with the green fruit, citrus and occasionally a mix of stone fruit.

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  8. Forge Cellars in the Finger Lakes, makes outstanding Rieslings, probably the best on the East coast.

    Reply

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