Those of us who really love wine find all the adventure we need in an unknown bottle. But for those who have that Kerouac-inspired urge to go farther, there's no better adventure than traveling in search of wine. Personally speaking, I like the prospect of ending a day of bone-fracturing fun and gland-challenging thrills with a hot bath and good glass of properly aged vino.
You could trek to South Africa, where you can take in a safari after your wine tasting. You could hop down to Tasmania, Australia's wine- producing island. You could take a bush flight into the far reaches of Patagonia, at the southern tip of South America, where the Argentines are making Malbec. You could dune buggy into Baja California and discover a small but thriving Mexican wine industry.
On the other hand, you could just pack your suitcase with crackers and Riedel stemware and head off in search of the Great American Wine. California, Oregon, Washington, and New York get the lion's share of attention from the wine press, but there are commercial wineries in all but one of the contiguous 48 states. (C'mon, North Dakota, get with the program!) Here are three worthwhile bottles from places you might not first think of when wine is mentioned. Don't forget your corkscrew (but be sure to put it in your checked luggage).
BARBROUSVILLE VINEYARDS OCTAGON III, VIRGINIA ($40)
Virginia's wine industry got its start when the studious Thomas Jefferson planted vines at his Monticello estate back in the 18th century. Jefferson's experiments fell victim to the pesky vine louse called phylloxera, but hope for great American wine from Virginia was revived in 1976, when Barboursville Vineyards replanted vinifera grapes in Jefferson's old terroir.