5 picturesque U.S. lakes that pair well with wine

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Lakes offer some of the world’s best getaways and most affordable vacation destinations, where blue skies, peaceful water, and the great outdoors are your daily playground. Throw in the opportunity to tour vineyards in notable wine country and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect lake escape. Here are some of our favorite lakes in American wine country.

Red wine glass with lake in background

Chautauqua Lake, New York

Located in the picturesque countryside of western New York, Chautauqua Lake has been a popular vacation destination for more than a century.

Located just six miles from the shores of Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake is a fantastic recreation lake, offering calm waters, charming village escapes, and outdoor diversions that promise fun for the whole family. The Chautauqua community, peppered with 19th century cottages, churches, theaters, pavilions, gardens and a charming town square, is a hotspot for aficionados of Americana.

Wine lovers flock to the area, which produces more than 60 percent of New York’s yearly grape harvest, for some of New York’s tastiest artisanal blends.

Chautauqua winemakers produce a range of sweet to dry wines, brandies, and sparkling wines at fifteen wineries along the Chautauqua Wine Trail.

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Eagle Lake, Michigan

Nestled between Chicago and Detroit in the heart of southwest Michigan’s wine country, Eagle Lake is a beautiful spring-fed recreation lake.

The lake has a maximum depth of 60 feet and a surface area of almost 200 acres ideal for motor boating, canoeing, kayaking, and other aquatic adventures. White sand beaches ring the lake, making it a great lake for swimming and families.

Lush Michigan Wine Country surrounds Eagle Lake, creating a picturesque backdrop for wine buffs in search of the state’s most delectable blends. The area’s wineries and wine tastings are top notch, and wine tours are a great way to visit the region’s highlights.

Take a bike, bus, or luxury tour through Michigan’s winding wine trail, where you’ll stop at scenic lookouts, historic buildings, and some of the area’s best wineries.

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The Finger Lakes, New York

Vineyards above Keuka Lake, NY - Dustin Deal
Vineyards above Keuka Lake, NY. Dustin Deal via canva

The Finger Lakes, known for their stunning panorama of blue waters, bluer skies, and awesome sunsets, are part of New York’s prized wine country and are home to more than 100 wineries and vineyards — the highest concentration of U.S. wineries outside of the Napa Valley.

The area’s most popular grapes include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Seyval Blanc and several indigenous (vitas labrusca) varieties. If you’re a wine connoisseur, a trip to the Finger Lakes — including Otisco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, and Canandaigua Lake — must be coupled with a day or two sampling wines and touring their parent wineries.

The area, home to boundless natural beauty, is very conducive to arranged wine tours or on-your-own explorations. On the water, the Finger Lakes offer visitors myriad recreational opportunities, including water skiing, boating, fishing, and kayaking.

Vineyard along Lake Erie
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Lake Berryessa, California

Lake Berryessa, nestled into the heart of California’s wine country, is the largest lake in Napa County. The Napa Valley is one of the the United States’ most important wine regions — approximately four million wine lovers visit every year.

The area has produced wine for over 200 years. By the end of the 19th century, Napa was already home to almost 150 wineries, several of which survive today.

Today’s Napa Valley winery snapshot encompasses more than 300 wineries, many of which feature artisan wines and technique that have been perfected over the years. Napa grapes included Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, and other varieties.

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Lake Marble Falls, Texas

Lake Marble Falls, in the central Texas Hill Country, was created by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in 1951 for hydroelectric power, water supply, and recreation. Today, this popular vacation lake and its mild year-round climate attract visitors seeking outdoor entertainment and some of Texas’ best wines.

The Marble Falls area has several scenic drives that offer breathtaking scenery over winding curves and hills and frequent glimpses of the Highland Lakes.

Serious wine lovers enjoy native Texan wines while taking in the scenic Hill Country wine trails, one the fastest growing wine destination in the United States. Several area wineries offer distinctive wines and tasting tours, and many participate in events hosted by the Texas Wine Trail.

Vineyard on Lake Balaton, Hungary
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