Wine is kind of our thing. Virginia wine to be specific. I truly believe Saturdays are created for long drives through the mountains to sip on buttery Chardonnays and smoky Cabernet Sauvignons while enjoying the incredible views and local live music.
See, I used to be a Sunset Blush Franzia girl. I thought that was about as good as wine could get. But Rob went to school in Charlottesville, which is pretty much the Virginia wine capitol, so we started going tasting and fell in love. Like head over heels in love. Drinking wine, learning the history of the grapes, discovering the complexities of the flavors, we became obsessed. While I still like drinking a bottle of two buck chuck with a straw, I am also kind of a wine
I won't bore you with all the reasons I am convinced the Virginia wine scene trumps all others but I will say if you ever get the chance to check it out, DO IT! Virginia has over 220 wineries...pack a picnic lunch, choose two or three wineries close to each other to taste at, and enjoy all that Virginia has to offer. I promise you won't regret it.
Since I am terribly indecisive and could never pick a favorite winery, I will give you a couple of my favorites based on specifics:
Best place to party -- Barrel Oak This place is insane. It has a gigantic front lawn with fire pits, outdoor bars, music, and food trucks. People come from all over with full spread picnics to enjoy with their wine. There are also at least three party busses full of people at any given time. It is loud, rowdy, and not your typical winery...however if you bring some friends and know what to expect, it is a BLAST!
Best pourers -- Molon Lave The owner's wonderful daughters were working in the tasting room of this fantastic winery the day we went. While I loved the greek wines (Have you ever tried the traditional Kokinelli?!?) and the history behind it all, my best memory of the day was definitely these girls. They were so cool and down to earth and just kept us laughing. It really felt like drinking wine with good friends and made the experience that much more enjoyable.
Most likely to see a celebrity -- Blenheim This Charlottesville winery is owned by Dave Matthews so who knows when he will stop by and try some of his wines!
Best place to bring a picnic - Veritas Huge patio, giant lawn, picnic tables in the shady woods - Veritas is the perfect picnic venue for everyone. The tasting room is massive and gorgeous but a glass of their "White Star" outside cannot be beat!
Best excuse to day drink - King Family Every Sunday during the summer King Family Vineyard has Polo matches on the property. You can bring food and buy a bottle or two of their "Crose" for sipping while watching the polo matches.
100 yarder/LGFFA (looks good from far away) -- Morais I was counting down to go here. I saw the pictures online and absolutely could not wait. It looked incredible and I just pictured it to be even more amazing in person. When we finally made the drive out, it could not have been more of a let down. Sure the winery was gorgeous however they won't let you go in the main building except for events so all we saw was a tiny basement room in the way back next to live animal cages (no joke!) Plus I was unimpressed by the wines and even more unimpressed by the pourers. Shame on me for assuming it would be wonderful.
Don't judge a book by its cover -- Rogers Ford Farm The EXACT OPPOSITE of Morais. From the outside, it looks like your grandmas house. It's kind of in the middle of no where and the decor both inside and outside are very unassuming. However from the wines named after the wine makers grandchildren to the adorable and knowledgable neighbors pouring the tastings, everything was simply a pleasure. Just goes to show you there is much more to wine than a gorgeous venue. Tip: buy the wine filled chocolates...they are to die for!
Best view - Afton Mountain Located at the top of a steep windy road, the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the winery patio are absolutely breathtaking. Their Pentola d'Oro dessert wine is our favorite sweet, sweet dessert wine. We have taken the drive out to Afton Mountain at least four times just for the "pot of gold"!
Wineries we have visited
Rogers Ford Farm
Winery at Bull Run
Oh Virginia wine, how I am going to miss you!