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The United States rivals France in the amount of wine we consume, and in the past several decades the U.S. has become a force to reckon with in the production of fine wine. These days wine is produced in so many states it’s tough to keep up, and it’s not just California and Oregon that offer the opportunity to tour and sample the local product.

In its listing of the World’s Best Wine Country Hotels, Travel & Leisure has some surprise wine locations in store – Arizona and Virginia.

Arizona’s high desert has three grape-growing areas – the Verde Valley near Sedona, as well as Willcox and Sonoita, near Tucson. Naturally each area has its own wine trail.  All the areas grow an array of grapes and produce their varietal wines.

Students of American history will remember that Thomas Jefferson made wine from grapes grown in his own vineyards, so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that Virginia is for wine lovers. And viticulture is not confined to the central part of the state. From the eastern shore to the Shenandoah Valley, through Appalachia and to within an hour’s drive of Washington, DC, Virginia’s wine trails provide an amazing range of wines, both varietals and blends.

Photo: Alcantara Vineyards via Google Images

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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