Those who enjoy sipping from a bottle of red, white or blush wine but find that a trip to the Bourdeaux region of France simply isn't in the cards right now needn't give up their designers to visit a winery of vineyard.

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Wineries and fully functioning vineyards dot the landscape of North America. In fact, wine afficionados may be surprised to learn a winery or vineyard is just a short drive from home.

Wineries in Southern Middle

Tennessee include:

• Amber Falls Winery and Cellars at 794 Ridgetop Road, Hampshire, Tenn. and tasting room at 349 Opry Mills Drive, Suite 751A, Nashville.

• Big Creek Winery at 1800 Campbellsville Road, Pulaski and tasting room at 7027 Main Street, Christiana, Tenn.

• Grinders Switch Winery at 2119 Hwy 50 West Loop, Centerville, Tenn. and tasting room at 1310 Clinton Street, Suite 125, Nashville.

• Natchez Hills Vineyard and Winery at 109 Overhead Bridge Road, Hampshire, Tenn. and tasting room at 900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville.

• Lexington Vineyard and Winery at 2000 Dog Hollow Road, Lynnville.

Visiting a local winery or vineyard can be educational and fun. Wine tours can be entertaining because some allow visitors to choose their own tasting adventure depending on their level of interest in wine, their budget and what they would like to get out of the experience.

Some wineries and vineyards offer extensive tours of the harvesting and production aspects of wine-making. Others will give visitors a chance to mingle among wine barrels and witness the fermentation process. Still, some wineries or vineyards may limit visitors to tasting rooms where they can sample select vintages.

According to viniculture experts from Professional Friends of Wine, grapevines are fairly adaptable plants that can thrive in a variety of soil types and temperatures. Soil, sun exposure, drainage, and topography all play roles in how the grapes will ripen and taste.

The chance to support a local business is another reason to make a trip to a nearby winery or vineyard. These facilities often produce wine and sell it close to home. By supporting small business, consumers can contribute to the success and the diversity of offerings where they live.

Wine tastings are an enjoyable recreational pursuit. Remember to drink responsibly, and join the mailing lists of nearby wineries and vineyards to learn more about tasting events and food pairings.