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8 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions in the US

8 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions in the US


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Last week, America made headlines when it was discovered that it was taking over the global market for wine consumption — curiously snubbing our Old World friends in Europe, the world's pros at drinking and making wine. According to the Associated Press, America is now the largest wine market in the world, consuming nearly 13 percent of all the wine made worldwide. And while we'll always love a good riesling from Alsace or a good Bordeaux, it's become clear that Americans are drinking wines born in the USA now more than ever.

Click here for the 8 Up-and-Coming Wine Regions in the U.S. Slideshow

"The American wine industry is robust and growing, both at home and abroad, with their increasing exports," says Doug Bell, the national wine buyer for Whole Foods Markets, who's been buying wine for nearly 30 years. While Bell notes that there will always be a demand for Old World Wines from France, Italy, and Spain, American drinkers are becoming more knowledgeable and curious about all wines — including New World wines. "I think the consumer 'perceives' New World wine as a comfortable purchase because they pretty much know what they are buying with how the New World is labeling its wines… by varietal," he says. "They are comfortable with that more than, say, a Piesporter Michelsberg Spatlese or a Chassagne-Montrachet German Riesling and French White Burgundy, a chardonnay."

And it could be why Americans are gravitating to local wines. Bell buys nationally from the bigger wine regions that have total coverage in the U.S., because some of the up-and-coming wine regions aren't distributed nationally. While Napa and Sonoma may be the ruling wine regions in the country, many more states and regions are exploding into the wine world; there are now more than 7,000 wineries in the U.S., a huge jump from the 1970s, when there were just 400 wineries. Bell says Whole Foods Markets has 12 regional wine buyers as well as approximately 225 wine buyers at the store level, who tend to heavily focus and promote wines in their regions-states-markets. "We are big supportes of the locally crafted wines," Bell says.

Some emerging wine regions in the U.S., like Virginia, may taste more Old World than new, but that doesn't mean that the wine regions on our list aren't redefining what the American wine landscape looks like. Click ahead to find out which regions are exciting the country's wine experts — we have some serious wine country road-tripping to plan this summer.


Scientists crack mystery of how Spain's prized albariño wine came to be

Myths, mysteries and legends surround the origin of albariño, widely regarded as Spain’s finest white wine, and how the grape from which it derives wound up in the far north-west of the country.

Now scientists at a research institute in Galicia have debunked theories that it originates in the Rhine valley or was brought by French Cistercian monks on pilgrimage from Cluny in the 12th century.

The grape, they said, is native to the region and albariño wine has been produced there since Roman times.

“We were already sure it didn’t come from the Rhine,” said Carmen Martínez, the head of viticulture at the biological research centre in Pontevedra. “Studies show that there is nothing like it in the Rhine valley, not even under another name.”

Martínez said they believed the grape derives from a woodland vine that over the years became domesticated. “There are no examples of albariño vines hundreds of years old anywhere in the world except Galicia,” she said.

In a joint study carried out with the history department of the University of Santiago de Compostela, the researchers compared seeds from one medieval and two Roman sites in Galicia with cultivated and wild varieties from other parts of Spain.

The albariño seeds shared important characteristics with the seeds found at both the Roman and medieval sites, suggesting the variety may have been grown as long ago as Roman times.

The seeds found at O Areal, the only Roman salt flats still in existence, were very similar to albariño.

“This shows that the Romans were domesticating wild vines, which are the origin of these cultivated varieties,” Martínez said.

Ideally, the researchers would like to compare the cultivated with the woodland variety, but Martínez thought that would be impossible.

“We doubt that we will find any here in Galicia because the native woodlands were replaced with eucalyptus,” she said. “Also, mildew, which arrived here from America, found the perfect conditions for it to thrive.”

The next step is to carry out DNA tests, but meanwhile Martínez said the research has shed light on how vine came to the Iberian peninsula.

“One theory is that the vine came from Asia, the second that in various parts of Europe wild vines were domesticated,” she said. “This research helps to confirm the second hypothesis.”

She added that comparative studies carried out by her institute suggest that wine seeds of other varieties retrieved from archaeological sites are similar to varieties currently grown in the region.

Most of the albariño comes from the Rías Baixas in the south of Galicia. The vines are typically trained over pergolas or wires to keep them away from the damp ground. The grapes are small, hardly bigger than a pea, and the vineyards are also small, often just a plot of a few dozen vines. The harvest is all done by hand.

In 2019 the Spanish association of wine writers voted the albariño Martín Códax Lías the best white in Spain.

Varieties of albariño are also produced in Portugal, the US, France and New Zealand.


8 Up and Coming US Cities to Consider for Work

Looking to relocate and get a change of scenery? Here are 8 great, underrated US cities to live and work in.

With a booming startup scene and young population, Boulder combines two traits that are hard to find in any other place: a growing, tech-minded urban environment that’s just a stone’s throw away from some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country.

Boulder’s startups are always hiring, but if you’re more focused on job stability, corporate giants like Google, Microsoft, and more have you covered.

So whether you want an urban or outdoorsy life combined with some great job opportunities, you can’t go wrong with Boulder.

Portland, OR

Regularly ranking as one of the top places to live on the West Coast, Portland is a vibrant, young, and affordable city. Smaller than its neighbors San Francisco and Seattle, it keeps its charm with a lively art and food scene. And best of all, it has one of the most bike-friendly road systems in the United States, giving you more choice on how to commute around the city.

Low rent, no sales tax, and great job opportunities with forward-thinking tech companies make Portland a great pick for any young professional.

Forbes regularly ranks Austin as one of the best cities in the US for jobs, and for good reasons. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities, has a low cost of living compared to cities like New York and San Francisco, and is one of the best places to start a career.

From corporations to startups to nonprofits and beyond, Austin has a plethora of job openings at great organizations. And with an unemployment rate of 2.6%, one of the lowest in the nation, it’s clear why Austin has become such an attractive option for young professionals.

Ann Arbor, MI

A college town that has grown far beyond the implications of the category, Ann Arbor is one of the best small cities in the United States.

In Ann Arbor, you can find any lifestyle you are seeking. If you want to stay forever young, you’ll feel at home with a vibrant, intelligent college crowd. If you’re into sports, University of Michigan’s football team has one of the biggest stadiums in the world. And if you love food, you can choose from any of 300 amazing restaurants to satisfy your appetite.

Money Magazine described Ann Arbor as “a melting pot of historic neighborhoods, high-tech jobs and culture that rivals cities many times its size.” Small, friendly, and inviting, it’s no wonder that many of this college town’s students decide to stay after graduation.

St. Louis, MO

Whether it’s Washington University or the growing hotspots of restaurants and nightlife in the area, St. Louis has always been a bastion of the midwest and is now growing even further as a destination in the middle of the country.

Washington University itself is one of the larger employers in the area, alongside hospitals, medical centers and companies, Anheuser-Busch, and major engineering firms. Whether you’re looking for a tech startup or a steady corporate job, St. Louis has something for you.

Kansas City, MO

Huffington Post named Kansas City the top city to keep on your radar in 2014. Whether for the food, the affordability, or the Midwestern hospitality, both the old and young call Kansas City, MO and its Kansas City, KS unofficial suburb their homes.

And let’s not forget that certain regions of Kansas City is on the map for Google Fiber.

Atlanta is a fast-growing city with warm weather, low cost of living, and home to major Fortune 500 companies alongside a small contingent of tech startups. Finance, healthcare, biotechnology, and media all call Atlanta a hub for their industries.

The median salary for recent college grads tops $50,000, the Georgia aquarium is a gigantic attraction, and a diverse and metropolitan demographic. Just make sure you can stand the traffic.

Some might tell you Seattle has had its up-and-coming moments already. There are certainly fully developed, populated, and expensive regions, but do some digging and you’ll find affordable housing in young and vibrant areas nearby.

Whether it’s healthcare, aerospace, tech, video gaming, or design, there are companies small, medium, large, and extra large to engage with in Seattle. There’s a long-time and still-burgeoning food scene to enjoy, as well.

Written by JobHero

JobHero is a web & mobile dashboard to organize & optimize your job search. Follow us on Twitter at @gojobhero.


10 interesting facts about the Argentine wine industry

Twenty years ago, few people living outside the borders of Argentina knew about its local wine industry. Today, exports are at nearly a billion dollars per year, fueled largely by its world-famous Malbec grapes and a cost-friendly price tag (although this may be changing soon). With Argentine wines being sold across the globe, it’s hard to imagine that at one time, the nation’s growers gave little thought to exports. Of course, with a per capita consumption of twenty-one gallons per year – one of the highest in the world – satisfying their own people’s thirsty palates took top priority. But with increased foreign investment, Argentina began aggressively looking at markets beyond South America. And although the country has become synonymous with Malbec, other varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sangiovese are being cultivated near the Andes, where the melted snow from the mountain tops is used to nourish the land through an impressive irrigation system. So for this week, have a look at ten interesting facts about the Argentine wine industry.


By Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Argentina is the number one producer of wine in South America and the world’s sixth-largest producer. blank blank

2. Wine grapes have been grown in Argentina since at least the mid-16th century. blank blank


By Fred von Lohmann from san francisco (Wine Tasting: Malbec) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

3. More Malbec is grown in Argentina than anywhere else in the world. blank blank


By Emilia Garassino [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Most of the nation’s wine regions are located in the west central part of the country near the foothills of the Andes Mountains. With elevations up to 4,900 feet above sea level, some of these vineyards have the highest altitudes in the entire world. blank blank


By Fabio Ingrosso (Flickr: Francois Lurton, vigneti in Argentina) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. In Argentina, the land and labor costs are roughly $30,000 per acre. In comparison, the same costs per acre in the Napa Valley are $300,000. blank blank


By European citizen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Mendoza is the largest and most successful region for viticulture in Argentina. Located east of the Andes, it accounts for 70% of the country’s wine production and is the sixth-largest producer of grapes in the entire world. blank blank

7. With completion of the Mendoza-Buenos Aires railroad in 1882, the region became vital in supplying Argentina’s political and financial capital with agricultural products—including wine. blank blank


By Tjeerd Wiersma (Flickr: Argentinie 123) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

8. Up until the mid-1990s, Argentina’s wine industry almost exclusively focused on domestic consumption, producing mostly inexpensive wines that were blends from many different grapes. blank blank

9. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Argentina experienced hyperinflation at approximately 1,000 percent a year. With price controls placed on wine during this time, many growers shifted away from grape production. blank blank


By Juan Pelizzatti (Bodegas Chakana) [CC BY 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

10. Those who stuck with growing wine grapes were given financial incentives to destroy older and traditional varieties in favor of high-yield and inferior varieties designed for domestic consumption.


Sources:

Catena, Laura. Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2011.
Koplan, Steven, Smith, Brian H. and Weiss, Michael. Winewise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Enjoying Wine. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
Luongo, Michael, Mroue, Haas and Schreck, Kristina. Frommer’s Argentina and Chile. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2005.
MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing Company, 2000.
McCarthy, Ed and Ewing-Mulligan, Mary. Wine For Dummies. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing Inc., 2012.
Nowak, Barbara and Wichman, Beverly. The Everything Wine Book: From Chardonnay to Zinfandel, All You Need to Make the Perfect Choice. Avon: Adams Media, 2005.
Parker, Robert M. Parker’s Wine Bargains: The World’s Best Wine Values Under $25. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009.


Texas Hill Country, Texas

While Texas officially has eight recognized wine growing regions, Tidwell believes there are two standout areas — one of which is Texas Hill Country.

As a Texas resident himself, Tidwell is proud of the world-class wines the area produces. "[The state] is making great wine, mostly from grape varieties you would find in places like Spain, southern France, and Italy," he said.

In fact, Texas Hill Country sits on nine million acres, stretching across 25 counties. The Lone Star state is said to be one of the fastest-growing wine regions in the country, and the area itself has become one of the fastest growing tourist destinations.


7. Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA, is a diverse community where all remote workers can thrive, no matter their backgrounds, thanks to the community’s focus on inclusion and equity.

This northern California city, the state’s capital, is home to more than 500,000 residents, tons of high-paying careers and high-speed internet for all, so you’ll be in good company when you work remotely from Sacramento. And if you want to be surrounded by some of Sacramento’s best and brightest minds, you can work from The Urban Hive, Capsity Coworking, Outlet Coworking, Trade Coffee & Coworking and a handful of other fun and inviting co-working spaces around town.

5 Outdated Myths About Sacramento That Need to Be Put to Rest

After work, head to the city’s farmers’ market (one of Sacramento’s nicknames is “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital”), try one of the amazing restaurants, or hop on your bike and hit the 28-mile Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, a paved multi-use path that snakes along the American River. Another fun way to stretch your legs after a day of being glued to your laptop? Snapping photos of the many murals and public art installations sprinkled throughout the city.

"The Sacramento region continues to be a dynamic location for remote workers who are looking to be around innovators and creators, but also would like to explore the beautiful outdoors. We have an outdoor-friendly climate with 265 days of sunny weather with close proximity to Lake Tahoe and wine country in Napa, Sonoma, Placer and El Dorado counties. Additionally, the region offers a robust culinary scene with 10+ Michelin restaurants and 250 local wineries and breweries to enjoy after your Zoom calls.”

Michelle Willard, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Greater Sacramento Economic Council

For a California city, Sacramento is affordable, with residents’ average rent or mortgage payments clocking in significantly lower than other cities in the state, so you’ll be able to make the most of your remote work paycheck, too.

C. Kurt Holter

The Fayetteville Technical Community College Foundation presents their Foundation Weekend events Nov. 4-8.

“The purpose of the event is to raise money for student scholarships and aid, programs and services at Fayetteville Technical Community College,” said Sandy Ammons, executive director of FTCC Foundation. “The foundation is the fundraising arm of the college and in the past we have raised over $50,000 so we are hoping this year despite the circumstances to sur
pass that.”

The Foundation Weekend consists of one event with three different parts: the FTCC Foundation Golf Tournament, the Bluegrass & BBQ at Home dinner and the Online Silent Auction.

The Golf Tournament will be held at Gates Four Golf and Country Club Nov. 6.

“The golf tournament goes back at least 20 years and has evolved throughout the years,” said Ammons. “It was scheduled for April and May of this year and because of COVID-19 we had to postpone it.”
Ammons added that they had to look at it with a different spin on how they could continue with the golf tournament under the new circumstances. The Golf Tournament is currently full and sold out.

The Online Silent Auction will take place Nov. 4- 8.

“In the past the silent auction was part of the dinner and you would come to the dinner and there would be an auction in the same room,” said Ammons. “We’ve had the Bluegrass theme for several years which is fun and we had live entertainment, a Western theme and people would come dressed in Western attire and it was an in-person event.”

Ammons added that this year the silent auction is online and it is open to everyone to bid on the auction items. There is no fee or ticket to purchase.

“We have really tried to tap into wonderful local businesses and artists who give back to the community who are helping us pull off this event with a new twist,” she said.

The public can view items up for auction by visiting the Online Silent Auction site at https://www.charityauctionstoday.com/auctions/ftccfoundation-15436.

“We have got some wonderful auction items that are made by FTCC faculty such as cakes from our Culinary Department, a beautiful hand-milled chess set, exotic plants, tons of gift certificates to local businesses, artwork, original paintings, photography prints, fine jewelry from Hinkamp Jewelers, a BBQ package, a pet package, a garden package and much more,” said Ammons.

“You can do your Christmas shopping through our auction because we have something for everybody and we add packages daily as we receive them.”

The Bluegrass & BBQ at Home dinner will take place on Nov. 7.

“We are going to have a fantastic dinner catered by Southern Coals and it will be chicken, BBQ, macaroni and cheese, broccoli salad and banana pudding,” said Ammons.

“It will be complete with flowers from the Downtown Market, wine glasses from FTCC, and the meal will be delivered to your home hot and ready to serve or you can pick it up at Southern Coals.”

Ammons added it will come with beverages from Bright Light Brewing Company or red wine from Healy Wholesale.

“This event would normally have live entertainment so we are going to have a private live concert at 7 p.m. by the Guy Unger Band streamed to the homes of the guests who buy tickets,” said Ammons. “They will get the link to view the live concert during the dinner.”

The Fayetteville Technical Community College Foundation has been in existence since 1985 and it is the foundation arm of the college.

“A big part of what we do is scholarships so we work with donors to bring in money for scholarships for students as well as work to match the students to the right scholarship,” said Ammons.

“We really try to do everything we can to keep our students on track and in school to graduate and to start their careers.”

The foundation also manages the Alumni Network. “We work with our students as they are getting ready to graduate and we make sure they stay connected to the college, help with networking and work with them so they can stay with their program after they leave college,” said Ammons. “We work with alumni, retired faculty and staff and current faculty and staff so we are kind of the link between the community and the college.”

For more information or to purchase tickets visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/foundation-events/ or call 910-678-8441.

Pictured: (Above) A hand-milled chess set made by FTCC faculty Kevin Henry and students will be available during the Foundation Online Silent Auction event. (Below) The pieces are made from brass and aluminum.


The 10 Most Searched-for Albariños

It's Albariño's time to shine as we turn the spotlight on the most searched-for wines from this Galician grape variety.

The Albariño grape (or Alvarinho) is a white wine lover's dream come true – combining lightness with complexity, acidity and aromaticity.

It is most at home clinging to the edge of Spain and Portugal's Atlantic coastline in the northwestern most wine outposts of the Iberian peninsula. Here, Rías Baixas, in Spanish Galicia, and Vinho Verde, in Portuguese Minho, produce the finest regional examples of Albariño-based white wines in the two neighboring countries.

The vineyards of R໚s Baixas and Vinho Verde provide the perfect mix of granite-rich soils and cool, wet coastal climatic conditions necessary to create dry and elegant white wines from the Albariño grape. Wineries in Uruguay have also taken advantage of Albariño's affinity for this particular terroir, with vineyards cropping up in the newly developed wine region of Garzón in the south of the country.

Like in the European regions of Rías Baixas and Vinho Verde, Garzón sits on granite soils. It is also bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, therefore viticulture here is strongly influenced by cooling ocean winds that bring rain and decreased humidity, ideal for the production of crisp white wines.

This undeniable potential is reflected in our 10 most searched-for Albariño wines, with Bodega Garzón's Albariño offering achieving 8th position in a list that overwhelmingly favors the more-established European wine regions of Spain and Portugal.

In Rías Baixas and Vinho Verde, Albariño grapes are often partnered with other white grape varieties including the likes of Caíño Bianco and Loureiro, as well as Treixadura and Godello, in accordance with local blending regulations. In order to reflect these classic grape blends, both single-variety and Albariño-predominant wines have been included in our homage to the humble Albariño grape, with this variety making up more than 70 percent of the final blends featured.

When it comes to the popularity of 100-percent Albariño wines versus Albariño-based blends, the odds are weighted much more towards pure expressions of the Albariño grape, obviously, as these are the wines that have Albariño on the label. Spain's Rías Baixas dominates for regional preference.

What links all the wines on our list is value-for-money – all score 87 points and above with the critics, and range from a meager $8 up to a very reasonable maximum price of $18. It's fair to say that quality is most certainly affordable when it comes to Albariño.

So, without further ado, here are our top 10 most popular Albariño wines from the last month:

This 100-percent Albariño is one of three of the Martín Códax winery's flagship Albariño wines. The classic expression has consistently ranked highly in our Albariño search rankings, never dropping below third place over the last five years. It seems that this dry white wine, with its citrus notes, high acidity and crisp minerality is hard-to-beat, especially when considering the wine's $14 price tag and average point score of 87.

The Terras Gauda winery is situated in O Rosal, one of the five subzones of Rías Baixas. O Rosal is a coastal winegrowing region dotted with terraced vineyards that look out over the Miño River and further on to the neighboring Portuguese wine region of Vinho Verde.

The Albariño and Caíño Bianco grapes for this Rías Baixas blend are sourced from lower-altitude vineyard parcels than the Loureiro grapes. These lower plots are warmer and more humid, resulting in a full-bodied wine with reduced acidity. Retailing at $14 and scoring an average 90 points, it has not ventured outside of the top five since 2012 – and its popularity doesn't seem to be showing signs of faltering.

From the sun-drenched vineyards of the Monção and Melgaço sub-region of Vinho Verde, this wine is fresh and fruity with moderate acidity. The region lies on the border with Spain, away from the coast, and its diurnal temperature variation is key to the quality of the wines produced here. This mesoclimate drew the attention of João Antonio Cerdeira, who originally planted Albariño vines here in 1974. Indeed, the winery's name, Soalheiro, is the Portuguese word for sunny. Grapes are harvested by hand and at 91 points, this wine has the highest critics' score on our list.

At $18, this 100-percent Albariño wine is the most expensive in our top 10 search rankings. The first vintage was produced in 1928 in the historic wine cellars buried beneath the Palace of Fefiñáns, in the town of Cambados in Galicia. The winery sources grapes from more than 60 growers, who cultivate vines planted in sandy, granite and limestone soils and trained overhead on arbors. Grapes are harvested by hand and fermented with indigenous yeasts.

Pazo Señoráns is situated in the Val do Salnés sub-zone of Rías Baixas. The Albariño-focused winery's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean results in mild temperatures and high levels of precipitation that, in combination with the vineyards' poor, sandy soils and low altitudes, result in wines with delicate aromas. This particular bottle of Albariño from Pazo de Señoráns will only set you back an average of $15.

The distinctive blue, flute-shaped bottle of the Mar de Frades 100-percent Albariño really sets this wine apart from the others on our most searched-for list. Founded in 1987, the name Mar de Frades means "sea of the friars" in Galician. The winery and its vineyards are located in the coastal sub-region of Val do Salnes in Rías Baixas. The oceanic theme is carried through to the labeling on the bottle – the wine's label is thermographic, so that when the wine is chilled a blue ship materializes.

We return to Portugal once more with this Albariño - Trajadura blend produced by the Adega Cooperativa Regional de Monção (CRL) winery, which was founded in the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço in 1958. Coming in at an average price of $8, this wine is the lowest-priced in the top 10 search rankings. Though currently sitting pretty at seventh position, the search counts for this wine have been rather erratic for the last five years, reaching heights of #4 in the rankings and dropping to a low of #18.

Uruguay is steadily making a name for itself on the international wine scene and this certainly seems to be the case with Bodega Garzón. This 100 percent Albariño expression from Bodega Garzón is the second most searched-for wine from Uruguay and scores an average 88 points with the critics. Founders Alejandro and Bettina Bulgheroni came to Garzón in 1999 and constructed a 205,000 square foot (19,050 square meters) sustainable winery.

The family-owned Santiago Ruiz estate was established in 1860 in the Rías Baixas region of O Roscal. This Albariño is a blend of five native Galician grape varieties – 70 percent Albariño, with varying percentages of Loureiro, Caiño Bianco, Treixadura and Godello. The vines are trained on trellises stretching over 38 hectares (94 acres) of vineyards situated in San Miguel de Tabagon and Tomiño. The sand and granite soils here give this wine its distinctive wet-stone minerality. Labeled as "the father of Albariño", a bottle of this wine comes in at an average price of $15 with an 88 point rating.

Last, but not least, is the single-variety Contacto Albariño from Anselmo Mendes. Interest in this wine has increased dramatically since May 2012, rising all the way from #80 in the search rankings. The grapes are harvested from vineyards in Monção and Melgaço, close to the Mino River where the soils are high in pebbles. The wine is vinified traditionally with 12 hours' skin contact and aged for a minimum of four months on its lees. The result is a full-bodied Albariño with citrus and tropical aromas. Scoring an average of 89 points and with its $13 price tag, who knows where this wine will end up in future search rankings?


Best to Pair with Red Meat: Stonestreet Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Sometimes you just need a big red wine, there’s simply no way around it. If you’re serving a steak dinner, prime rib, or pot roast, you should look for a tannic and powerful wine to stand up to it. For those nights, the 2016 Stone Street Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Alexander Valley will do the job nicely.

The high tannins make it a great match for rich red meats, and the dark fruits will complement the carmelized and smoky flavors from a grill or other high heat cooking. Aged for 19 months in oak barrels, this bottle packs the flavors of cooked dark fruits like cassis and plums, paired with warm vanilla and baking spices.


8 Up-and-Coming Hot Spots for Solo Female Travelers

It was 2009. I had just graduated from college and was a few months shy of my 22nd birthday. I flew to San Diego, rented a car, and started driving north — all the way to Seattle. It was the first time I was ever on an adventure completely by myself.

I had traveled alone before, but always headed toward places where I knew I was going to meet people, like my study abroad semester in Dublin, or a birthright trip to Israel. But 2009 was the first time I bought a plane ticket with no plan, no hotels booked, and no one to talk to. And it turns out I ended up making a really great friend along that journey: Me.

Since then, I have traveled Southeast Asia, backpacked Mexico, explored vast stretches of Europe, and pockets of South America entirely alone. I can say with the utmost sincerity that solo travel, especially as a woman, is the best education I could have ever asked for, and recommending it for other women is the best advice I could possibly give.

As we’re living in a world of constant screen time, influencer culture, and a generation that is ravenous for travel, it seems the places that were once Meccas for solo travelers have been splattered with all-inclusive hotels, late-night lounges, and shopping malls.

Where can women travel to these days and still chase that sense of adventure? Here are eight rising destinations that solo women travelers should know for 2020.

For the last decade travelers have flocked to Tulum, and stopped. For years this was the end of the line. The holy grail of the Yucatán Peninsula. But what if I told you there was more?

Just a few hours south of Tulum, a straight shot down that same highway, leads travelers to one of the most beautiful places in all of Mexico: Laguna de Bacalar. Mexico’s second largest lake sits like a turquoise-colored jewel almost near the border of Belize.

Known as the “lake of seven colors” because of its changing colors throughout the day, Bacalar is one of Mexico’s best kept secrets (or, it was until the New York Times named it the “next Tulum”).

The fresh water, crystalline lake stretches nearly 40 miles from end to end and is peppered with boutique, eco resorts. Solo travelers will love Bacalar for its genuine off-the-beaten-path charm, affordability, and stunning natural beauty.

Where to stay: Rancho Encantado is a personal favorite, complete with a pool, hot tub, palapa-covered pavilion that stretches out into the lake, and a fabulous restaurant. Rates start at $164.

Getting there: There are regular buses to Bacalar from Playa del Carmen with ADO. Bus travel in Mexico is safe, comfortable, and cheap. The other option is to rent a car and drive from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Playa del Carmen and is a direct trip down Highway 307.

One of the most vibrant and dynamic Latin American capital cities, Santiago is absolutely explosive for solo travelers. There’s a never-ending list of things to do both in the city, as well as nearby.

Santiago showcases the diversity of Chile across its many neighborhoods, from sultry and eye-popping Bellavista, to the charming cafe culture in Barrio Italia — all with impressive views of the Andes looming in the distance. For foodies Santiago is a dream, as the gastronomy scene has transformed over the last few years.

Tip: Borago is one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Santiago is also an incredibly green city and perfect for biking or running. Parks to explore are Metropolitan Park, Araucano Park, Bicentenario Park, and Forestal Park. Solo travelers can meet people through La Bicicleta Verda, which are local city bike tours throughout the city.

Santiago is also within a short drive from some of Chile’s most prestigious wine regions, like Maipo Valley, Casablanca Valley, and Aconcagua Valley. And the city is replete with cultural options, from the Cultural Center of La Moneda to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.

Where to stay: Sleek, chic, and sustainable, Eco Boutique Hotel Bidasoa is a family-run hotel that focuses on the environment. It’s known for using renewable energy, 100 percent ecological cleaning products, local produce, and electric car stations for guests. Rates start at $150.

Getting there: There are many nonstop flights from the U.S. to Santiago, with departures from New York, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston.

Backpacking through Europe is a rite of passage for any aspiring world wanderer, but long gone are the days of finding quiet corners of Western Europe to call your own. Eastern Europe is now hot on the rise as the new place to cut your teeth in solo travel.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a land of fairy-tale spires and medieval architecture. A convergence of cultures over the past 1,000 years has left an indelible mark on the city, from Denmark and Sweden to Poland, Germany, and Russia.

Today Tallinn is a capital in its own right. Solo travelers will love it for its juxtaposition of old and new, where centuries-old streets are flanked with modern pubs and restaurants.

The medieval fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, yet an ever-evolving skyline shows that Tallinn is very much a European capital of the future. But there’s so much more to Tallinn than centuries-old charm. Cross the railway tracks to discover Telliskivi Creative City, humming with street art, craft beer, and boutiques.

Where to stay: Tallinn has its fair share of luxury five-star hotels, but solo travelers tend to be a bit more budget-minded. Fortunately, in Tallinn a little goes a long way. The von Stackelberg Hotel Tallinn, for example, is just steps from Toompea Castle and lives in a transformed 19th-century residence. There’s an onsite spa, a gorgeous breakfast at the Emmeline & OTTO restaurant, and a warmly lit courtyard where travelers can enjoy tapas and wine in the evening. The best part is that rates hover around $70 per night.

Getting there: While there are no direct flights to Tallinn from the U.S. just yet (a good indication of a rising destination), most of the major European carriers fly there with connections, like Lufthansa, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Air France, Norwegian, and more.

The first time I visited Hanoi was on a solo adventure around Southeast Asia — another common region for young people seeking to fulfill a nomadic calling. But while most solo travelers are dancing under the full moon in Thailand or slogging back beers in Siem Reap, I was off to North Vietnam, a place Americans couldn’t even visit until the embargo was lifted in 1994.

Today Hanoi is a swirl for the senses, from sizzling street food to honking motorbikes, dizzying traffic that follows absolutely no pattern, historic palaces and temples, and a very vibrant atmosphere.

Grab a plastic stool at one of the many noodle shops and slurp into the most aromatic soups you’ve ever tasted. Stroll the architectural remnants of French and Chinese occupation. Or camp out at Beer Corner, a traveler institution that sits at the intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen in the Old Quarter. For 25 cents you can grab a mug of Bia Hoi, or the light and local Vietnamese beer.

Where to stay: Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa is clean, centrally located near the Hoan Kiem Lake, and is elegantly decorated. It’s at the center of the Old Quarter, which makes it perfect for exploring on foot. Rates start at $70 per night.

Getting there: There are no direct flights to Hanoi from the U.S., but there are many one-stop options, with connections in Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, or Seoul, among others.

If you haven’t heard of Guyana before, you certainly will soon. That’s because JetBlue is gearing up to start nonstop flights from JFK to its capital, Georgetown.

Guyana is truly one of the best kept secrets of the Caribbean. Technically it’s a South American country, but its location on the Caribbean Sea gives it a vibe that is entirely islander, with deep threads of Nepal, India, China, and Africa woven into its fabric. While the country has been affected in the past by political instability, today it remains a safe place for solo travelers, especially ones who have a thirst for adventure.

Travel outside the Caribbean capital city for breathtaking wildlife, thick Amazonian jungle, plunging waterfalls, and phenomenal food. Most people speak English there, due to years as a British colony, so getting around couldn’t be easier.

Where to stay: If you’re traveling through Guyana then it’s going to be rainforest lodges and savanna ranches for you. Karanambu Lodge, for example, is a lovely ranch in the North Rupununi region, with activities like wildlife spotting, swimming in the river, and relaxing in the spacious huts. While in Georgetown the King’s Hotel & Residence is clean, safe, and centrally located. Suites have their own kitchens.

Getting there: There are direct flights from Miami and New York.

A few years ago it was all about colorful Cartagena, which splashed across the pages of travel magazines all over the country. But today it’s becoming more and more about Medellín, a mountain city with a brutal past.

Once one of the bloodiest cities in the world thanks to Pablo Escobar and his cartel, today Medellín has new life, and more importantly, peace and freedom, breathed into it. Furthermore, it’s one of the safest places to travel in Colombia.

Numerous restoration projects have turned the city into a haven for art, cuisine, and wonderful people. Medellín is also fast on its way to becoming one of the top destinations for digital nomads, so you can rest assured that Wi-Fi connectivity is strong and you’ll be meeting young people from all over the world.

Where to stay: Design-forward and edgy, the Click Clack Hotel is a haven for young travelers in their 20s and 30s. Clean and sleek, with breakfast included, Click Clack Hotel Medellín is one of the best options for solo travelers there. It sits in the El Poblado district, which is known for its nightlife, food, and shopping.

Getting there: There are several nonstop flights to Medellín from the United States, with options from Miami, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Boston.

Forget Bali. Long gone are the days of Bali being under the radar (although, if you head to the north coast you’ll still uncover some secrets). Still, Indonesia is an archipelago of around 17,000 islands. Yes, 17,000. So when it comes to the next great hidden gem in the country, there are literally thousands to choose from. The question becomes, where to begin.

Sumatra is an incredible option for solo travel in Indonesia, especially if you’re seeking something a little more authentic and a little less Instagrammed. Lake Toba, located in North Sumatra, is a spectacular place to discover.

The volcanic crater lake is the largest in the world, surrounded by lush, emerald-colored peaks. Within the lake is Samosir, an island that is almost the same size as Singapore. The main village here is Tuk Tuk, a charming town that has undergone recent refurbishments as the number of travelers continues to climb.

Where to stay: Tuk Tuk is accustomed to travelers, but not quite on the same level as places like Bali. Still, there’s something for everyone, from five-star luxury to budget-friendly guesthouses. If you’re looking for clean, affordable, lakeside, and fun, then Reggae Guest House is a wonderful option. It comes complete with a restaurant, bar, and garden. Rates start at just $13.

Getting there: There are many one-stop flight options from the U.S., with origins in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Washington, and San Francisco. Fly into Kualanamu International Airport, where there are numerous bus or taxi options to Lake Toba, which is about a 4-hour drive away.

It wasn’t so long ago that Bucharest was living in the dark days of tragedy. The Romanian Revolution in 1989 saw the execution of the Communist party in the country, and a world of opportunity and hope opened for Romania, with Bucharest at its center.

Today it’s a cultural capital, brimming with nightlife and creativity, a rich history that dates back to the Byzantine Empire, and an Old Town that is as historic as it is revitalized with bars and restaurants. Solo travelers love it because it’s safe, affordable, and English is widely spoken.

Bucharest is also a walker’s paradise, which makes it great for solo travelers to see and experience its maze of cobblestone streets, historic landmarks, and striking architecture. New Romanian cuisine is on the rise as well, as young chefs who’ve cut their teeth elsewhere are returning home to redefine the country’s kitchens.

And don’t forget to stop for a drink at one of the many outdoor garden bars, a beloved pastime among locals.

Where to stay: Modern in design, but historic in location, the Novotel Bucharest City Centre is an affordable, clean, and convenient hotel option. Standout amenities include an indoor pool and hammam, while the onsite wine bar makes it a great place to meet other travelers. Rates start at $60.

Getting there: There are no direct flights to Bucharest from the United States, however there are numerous connections from all over the rest of Europe, including flights on British Airways, Ryanair, KLM, Lufthansa, Air France, Turkish Airlines, and more.

Meagan Drillinger is a freelance travel writer who lives a life in two worlds: one is in New York City. The other is out of a suitcase. Since 2009 she has been writing full-time with her passport in her pocket and one foot out the door. Travel has changed her life in every single aspect, and has opened her world to so much more than collecting stamps. For her, there is no greater gift than the ability to inspire others to get on a plane and go. Visit her blog or Instagram.