Wine tastings at Old World vineyards have their charms (we like sipping real Champagne before lunch as much as the next bon vivant), but America’s wine countries are full of chic inns and luxury estates that make us stoked to stick closer to home. From Napa Valley showstoppers to a historic retreat in Virginia horse country, these are America’s best wine country hotels.
Solage Calistoga, CA
Those trying to avoid St. Helena’s Robert Parker–toting tourists stay at this 25-acre resort in Napa’s (comparatively) low-key Calistoga. The 89 intimate bungalows have Italian linens, vaulted ceilings and complimentary loaner bicycles. When you're not cruising to the nearby vineyards, make your way to the Solage Spa, which is fresh off a renovation that also upgraded the Michelin-starred Solbar restaurant. Sign up for a fitness class (aqua yoga, anyone?), go for a dip in the 130-foot swimming pool, or book one of the spa's signature mud and mineral water treatments.
Farmhouse Inn, Forestville, CA
Run by fifth-generation Sonoman siblings, this plush B&B is the Russian River Valley family estate you never had. The 25 cottage-style rooms and suites have private decks, fireplaces and feathertop beds, and the Michelin-starred restaurant turns out seasonal Californian fare with a Gallic accent. Try the Williams Ranch lamb tartare, or the Monterey calamari with a soy–squid ink emulsion. The six-acre grounds also include a farm-to-massage-table spa that offers treatments using honey, herbs and heirloom cider apples from the on-site gardens.
Andaz Napa, CA
The urbanite’s answer to homespun wine country inns is this 141-room tower, minutes from Highway 29. Big brand amenities (iPad check-in, free WiFi, killer lobby cocktail bar) are added to local touches, like Lydia Mondavi’s 29 line of beauty products in the teak and marble bathrooms, and a mini-fridge stocked with bottles from Alameda’s St. George Spirits and Anderson Valley Brewing Company. The hotel is also just a short hop from such esteemed wine labels as Quintessa, Del Dotto, Sterling and Domain Chandon.
San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara, CA
JFK’s honeymoon destination is still hot, thanks to generations of celebrity guests and a recent $150 million renovation. The 500-acre former citrus grove has 41 cottages, all with private decks and many with hot tubs, surrounded by oleander-scented lanes and epic mountain views. Leave time for dinner at the award-winning Stonehouse restaurant, which serves seasonal ingredients grown on the on-site garden. The Santa Ynez Valley vineyards Babcock, Rusack and Foley Estates are less than an hour away.
Salamander Resort, Middleburg, VA
Opened by Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, in 2013, Loudoun County’s premier country escape is an hour from Washington, DC, and a favorite of tastemakers like Michelle Obama. It's a gorgeous 340-acre estate with carved iron balconies, an equestrian center, a 23,000-square-foot spa and a private dining room in a 150-year-old converted stallion barn — perfect for long, leisurely dinners. Take a private chauffeured tour of the area's dozen or so wineries — and make sure to request a homemade picnic lunch for the trip.
Bardessano, Yountville, CA
This eco-luxe retreat in Yountville has 62 suites kitted out with organic linens, loaner carbon fiber bicycles, and soaking tubs with REN bath products. Nearly everything on the LEED Platinum grounds was produced within 100 miles, including the ingredients for the farm-to-table restaurant, Lucy. The hotel is a short stroll from Thomas Keller's Michelin-starred galaxy, including the venerable French Laundry, and prestigious vineyards like Jessup Cellars.
Allison Inn and Spa, Newberg, OR
Sitting on 35 acres of manicured grove, garden and grapevine, this boutique hotel is a mere 20-minute drive from 200 Willamette Valley wineries. (We suggest making the trek in one of the Allison's complimentary Lexus sedans.) All 85 guestrooms and suites have gas fireplaces and paintings by local artists, plus glamorous soaking tubs and bay windows overlooking rolling winelands. And, in a quintessentially Oregonian touch, the minibars are stocked with bottles of local Pinot Noir and craft microbrews.
Smith Fork Ranch, Crawford, CO
Colorado’s Grand Valley is one of the country’s lesser known but most impressive wine regions, with more than 20 vineyards like Two Rivers Winery producing bold, mountain-size Cabernets. Halfway between Aspen and Telluride, Smith Fork Ranch has elegant lodges with hot tubs and wraparound porches looking out at the Needle Rock and Saddle Mountain range, plus cabins with vaulted ceilings and decks that face the Rockies. Book a table at the hotel restaurant, which serves field-to-table fare and has a 400-bottle wine list. And if you've had enough of wine, the craft spirits infused with fruit from local orchards are the classiest way to get Rocky Mountain high.
Marcus Whitman Hotel, Walla Walla, WA
Washington’s version of Sonoma is the Walla Walla Valley, where hundreds of wineries including Leonetti, L'Ecole No. 41 and Woodward Canyon grow dozens of varietals. The best place to sip the regional rainbow is the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel. Housed in a landmark 1920s brick building, the hotel has the city's best restaurant, the Marc, pours local vintages in the clubby Vineyard Lounge, and sets up boutique samplings of Walla Walla wineries in the on-site tasting rooms.
North Fork Table & Inn, Southold, NY
Two Manhattan expats opened this Long Island respite minutes from popular North Fork vineyards like Bedell, Shinn, and Paumanok. The accommodations in the 18th-century manse are the height of B&B chic, with white Frette linens (no grandma floral patterns here) and C.O. Bigelow beauty products. The James Beard–nominated restaurant serves New American tasting menus featuring local dishes like Long Island sea scallops with summer peas and mint, or Joyce Farms steaks with baby carrots and black garlic jus, and seared Hudson Valley foie gras. Forget the Hamptons — this is Long Island done right.
Inn at Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay, MI
Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula is blowing up in culinary circles, with chefs like Mario Batali singing its praises, and locally made craft beers, wines and cherry pies getting serious national attention. Set on 160 acres of green hills dotted with picturesque barns and pastures reminiscent of a Swiss Miss label, Black Star Farms pays homage to the local bounty. Two tasting rooms pour Black Star Farms' Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, plus house spirits made with fruit from area orchards. For those who hate to drink on an empty stomach, Leelanau Cheese Company's aged raclette is made at an on-site creamery.