With wedding planning well underway and a to-do list that seems to only get longer and longer, there’s no doubt you’re ready to blow off some steam. Enter: your bachelorette party! When it comes to this celebratory occasion, some brides choose to zen out with a spa weekend, while others may want to party all night in Miami or Las Vegas. But for those searching for a middle ground, a winery excursion might be something to consider.
"Most bachelorette parties revolve around drinking in some way," says travel advisor Michelle Manas. "Going to wineries makes the planning easy." Additionally, what's great about this kind of trip is that it doesn't require you to understand the difference between a pét-nat and prosecco, but instead provides rolling hills filled with grapevines, sun-soaked patio tables piled high with nibbles to pair with your drinks, and all the additional fun that a vino-focused bachelorette weekend might offer.
"While this type of trip would of course be perfect for a wino, it’s also great for someone that doesn’t really know anything about wine, but enjoys drinking it and looks forward to learning more," assures Manas. And if this type of celebration sounds like something you'd like to experience, Manas was kind enough to share details on the best winery bachelorette party destinations in the U.S. right now—plus one exciting up-and-coming spot, south of the border in nearby Mexico. Cheers!
Meet the Expert
Michelle Manas is the co-founder of Uncorked Escapes, a luxury travel advisory company that specializes in wine-focused trips. She is based in California.
Looking to infuse your winery-focused bachelorette weekend with an air of Southern refinement? Look no further than this college town, home to the University of Virginia, and the surrounding Albemarle countryside. When it comes to accommodations, your options range from the posh Keswick Hall—which reopened in 2021 with clay tennis courts, an infinity pool, and a swanky new restaurant by internationally lauded chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten—to the artsy Quirk, a colorful and contemporary hotel with a scene-y rooftop bar and even cooler gift shop.
If you’re going the Airbnb route, book in the Belmont neighborhood. It’s situated away from the college kids, but still walkable to coffee shops and restaurants.
Must-visit wineries include King Family Vineyards, where you can enjoy polo matches, refreshing rosé, and a lively lawn scene; Pippin Hill, which is run by the same folks behind Charleston’s stylish Zero George hotel; and, a bit further out, Early Mountain Vineyard, where the cheese and charcuterie platters are best paired with the four-pour "Virginia" flight and savored on the outdoor patio. (Open to expanding your palate? Both Potter’s and Castle Hill offer stellar cider and beautiful natural scenery.)
Come dinner, indulge with a multi-course tasting menu at Broadcloth, or go casual with seafood at Public Fish & Oyster. And if you need a break from boozing, Charlottesville’s downtown pedestrian mall has plenty of adorable boutiques, and the hike to Humpback Rock is sure to help you sweat out any lingering hangovers.
Finger Lakes, New York
Named for a group of eleven narrow lakes that run north to south, this part of upstate New York is ideal for an East Coast bachelorette excursion. "This region is great for anyone that loves riesling, but they also produce chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet franc," says Manas. There are a few different wine trails to follow—and also plenty of food and beer-focused routes to explore—but specific standouts for Manas include Fox Run Vineyards and Hermann J. Wiemer vineyard near Seneca Lake, and Dr. Konstantin Frank vineyard by Keuka Lake.
Lodging options in the area have also recently gotten an upgrade. Opened in 2020, the waterside Lake House Canandaigua boasts roomy, stylishly spare accommodations (the spaces seriously feel like they stepped out of a Restoration Hardware catalog), while the on-site spa includes private barrel saunas and a full menu of top-notch treatments. Speaking of spas, the nearby Inns of Aurora unveiled their masterpiece of a relaxation sanctuary in 2021. Big enough to be dubbed a "spa campus," the 15,000-square-foot farmhouse-inspired center features six indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools and, come summer, takes its Ayurveda-inspired massages outdoors to lush lavender fields.
Napa and Sonoma, California
The most well-known wine regions of California—and arguably the U.S., for that matter—are Napa and Sonoma. Situated roughly an hour north of San Francisco, Sonoma is perhaps a little more low-key than its close-by counterpart, but both offer a variety of options for groups that are prepared to ball out in the budget department. In Sonoma, Manas’s favorite drinking destinations include Jesse Katz’s Bordeaux-focused Aperture and the newer Coursey Graves. In Napa, she recommends AXR for big, bold reds and, if money is no issue, Quintessa. "They have two special tasting rooms high up on a hill overlooking their lake that are perfect for groups," she explains.
Speaking of splurges, come dinner, you can dine at Michelin-star restaurants The French Laundry and Single Thread, while unique activity options include antiquing in Healdsburg and hanging with giraffes in Sonoma’s Safari West. Luxe-leaning hotel options run aplenty, with notable choices including the Montage Healdsburg, The Farmhouse Inn, and the adults-only Auberge du Soleil.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Love a dry red? Situated just an hour from Portland and home to over 700 wineries, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the place to head for pinot noir. A long weekend in the area will barely scratch the surface, but a few stops to add to your itinerary include French wine house Domaine Drouhin—"It will make you feel like you’re abroad," says Manas—and Argyle Winery, which, along with its pinots, is also known for sparkling wine, riesling, and chardonnay. (For breathtaking views, head to Adelsheim.)
Manas’s favorite place to spend the night in the area is the Allison Inn & Spa. Situated in 35 acres of bucolic farmland, the 77-room hotel also boasts indoor and outdoor swimming spaces, a 12-room spa, and soaking tubs in the en-suite bathrooms. Want to really make the trip an experience you’ll never forget? Book a hot air balloon tour with Vista Balloon Adventures.
Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Over 120 wineries are spread throughout this pocket of southeast Washington, which sits along the border of Oregon. "It’s primarily known for making some of the best cabernet sauvignon in the world," says Manas. "Due to the warm climate and long growing season, it’s also popular for syrah, merlot, tempranillo, and malbec"
When building out your visit, you’ll want to include the stylish and sophisticated Va Piano Vineyards. The main estate is Tuscan-style, but it has multiple tasting rooms in the area. Gramercy Cellars is known for Rhône and Bordeaux-based wine as well as beautiful views.
For lodging, your best bet is to rent a private home. ("Have a chef come one evening!" suggests Manas.) There are also options for horseback riding, biking, hiking, and plenty of Insta-perfect photo ops at the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm.
Hill Country, Texas
Roughly situated between Austin and San Antonio, the warm, dry climate of Texas Hill Country has led to a boom in wine production in the Lone Star State. Want to feel like you're in Europe, without actually hopping on a plane? Head to Grape Creek Vineyards. "You’ll feel like you’re sipping among the vines in Tuscany," says Manas. Solaro Estate Winery is great for bachelorette parties because the variety of seating options will easily accommodate large groups, and Duchman Family Winery proudly pours 100-percent Texan wine.
When you’re through vineyard-hopping, small towns such as Fredericksburg and Wimberley offer charming boutiques and great places for lunch and dinner, and, for outdoorsy groups, a visit to the 200-acre Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs is a must. (Sadly, swimming is not allowed for the foreseeable future due to falling rocks.) Speaking of outdoors: the yurts, breezeway cabins, and porch houses at Lucky Arrow Retreat will convince even the biggest glamping skeptics to give sleeping under the stars a go.
Santa Ynez Valley, California
Not everyone loves the idea of hopping in a van or bus and driving between vineyards. If you’d rather walk, head to California’s Santa Ynez Valley, where tasting rooms pepper the streets of Solvang and Los Olivos. That said, if you’d still like to enjoy the scenery while you sip, Manas’s top choice is Sunstone Winery. "In the summer they do wood oven pizzas, and they have a cheese and charcuterie shop for picnics on the grounds, as well as lawn games," she says. (More favorites include Melville, Brave & Maiden and Stolpman.)
To add a bit of quirk to the weekend, head to OstrichLand USA to hang with ostriches and emus, or hit up an alpaca farm. (There’s more than one in the area!) Hotel options include The Landsby in Solvang—"Modern Scandinavian style with a great bar and restaurant," says Manas—and Fess Parker in Los Olivos. And debuting spring 2022: The super-stylish Inn at Mattei’s Tavern.
Temecula Valley, California
Situated an hour and a half away from Los Angeles, Temecula Valley is known as Southern California's wine country. With over 33,000 acres of rolling vineyards, this area is the perfect location for brides looking to experience what SoCal has to offer aside from Hollywood and the beaches.
In terms of lodging, book a stay at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, a luxury and award-winning destination that features 50 guest suites and 82 villas, each with beautiful vineyard views, as well as comfortable sitting and dining areas. (What's more, all accommodations are dog-friendly!) You can also stay at their sister property across the street, Carter Estate Winery and Resort, which specializes in sparkling wines.
During the day, check out Old Town Temecula to do a little shopping, rent a bike to explore the gorgeous scenery, watch the sunset on horseback via CRC Ranch Company, book a hot air balloon ride for an experience of a lifetime, or make an appointment at GrapeSeed Spa, the only full-service spa in Temecula Valley. And once you've worked up an appetite, for dinner, be sure to make reservations at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant for an elegant dining experience that offers California-style cuisine led by Executive Chef Albert Park.
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
SoCal brides, take note: It is possible to host a close-by winery bachelorette party that’s not in the Golden State—though it will require a passport. Just across the border in Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe is rapidly gaining in popularity as a destination for wine-loving Americans, as it’s where a significant amount of wine in Mexico is produced. (Varietals vary, but the palette is often bold and fruit-forward.)
"With 100 wineries in the region, there’s so much to see and taste," says Manas. "It’s also much less expensive than wine country in the States, and offers unique varietals you may not have had before."
While there, a farm-to-table meal at Deckman’s, especially on its dreamy stone-covered patio, is a must, as is parking your bags at a cool boutique hotel like Encuentro, where the secluded sleeping lofts boast floor-to-ceiling windows.