Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.

When you think of wine in the United States, you think of California.  That's not to say that we don't enjoy visiting our local vineyards for some tasting, or take pride in supporting our local and regional vintners.  But honestly, with so many vineyards in the western part of the country, you'd think they rule the top 5 wine destinations in the country.

So, it's time for oenophiles to rejoice, because you have more choices than you may have thought.

And are you ready for this? The epitome of wine vacations in Northern California's Napa Valley, as well as Sonoma, and Carneros, didn't even make #1.

Cleary, California isn't the only state making exceptional wines.  Don't get me wrong, I've fully enjoyed wine vacations there, but now, staying closer to home is tops as well.

Red wine

According to Eat This, Not That, a deep dive research into the world of wine travel revealed that Americans are the largest consumers of wine in the world. The US is the third best country for those dream wine destination vacations, behind Italy and France.

Eat This, Not That says the number of grape varieties, vineyard surface area, wine consumption and production, critic scores, price points, and world rankings of the most popular wines determined the top 5 in the country.

Newport Vineyards via Facebook
Newport Vineyards via Facebook

Congratulations to Rhode Island!  It's just behind California's #2 spot at #3, followed by Oregon and Virginia.  Washington State snagged that #1 spot.

Um, Rhode Island has wine? Fun fact: Every state has a winery, even Alaska.  And while Rhode Island's single AVA—which it shares with Connecticut and Massachusetts—doesn't compare to Virginia, it's still a solid bet for tasty, affordable wine. Turns out we have King Charles II to thank for allowing and encouraging wine production in Rhode Island in the 1600s. Plus, according to Wine-Searcher, the climate of Rhode Island is moderated by the Gulf Stream and the ocean, giving it a longer growing season than many inland New England locations.

I always knew there were some amazing vineyards in Rhode Island, but clearly it's at an entirely new level that surprised many.

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