Fall is the perfect time for wine tasting, especially since we live in a state full of nearly 250 vineyards. From historic to new age, Virginia is home to an array of top notch wineries that offer fabulous tasting deals and entertaining events that you’re bound to truly enjoy. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just getting a taste for it, you’re sure have a fantastic time at these these local wineries – all within one hour of Richmond!
Saudé Creek Vineyards: Located on the Pamunkey River, Saudé Creek is a stunning vineyard with a scenic landscape and a large, inviting wrap-around porch. Open Wednesday through Monday from 11 A.M. – 6 P.M., and until 9 P.M. on Fridays, they currently make fourteen different varieties. Their Saudé Creek red, a semi-dry blend, is their most popular red wine, with their white Pamunkey blend, a mix of Chardonnay and Chardonel, being their best-selling white. With three live music events every single week, you’re bound to have time to stop by at least one. On Friday nights, they host a music lounge, with live tunes from 6 – 9 P.M., and picnics are welcome. Then, every Saturday and Sunday, in addition to featuring various talented musicians, mouth-watering barbecue from the Scottish pig is also available for purchase!
New Kent Winery: Less than forty minutes outside of the city, this family owned, picturesque winery built from reclaimed, historic materials, is worth visiting simply for the atmosphere alone. Open from 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. every day of the week, New Kent Winery currently has over twenty acres under cultivation, producing over six high quality wines. The Vidal Blanc, their best seller, is slightly sweet, has a crisp green apple taste, and pairs very well with fish. They host a variety of lively events every month, and this Friday October 23, be sure to join them for their Friday Night Music and Menu, featuring Dave Pollard and Uncle Gus’ Mediterranean Cuisine! It’ll be too cool to miss.
James River Cellars: Never mind the fact that they’re just a short drive away in Glen Allen, James River Cellars is totally worth a visit for many other reasons. Open year round from 10 A.M. – 6 P.M., and by appointment on Tuesday, their quality over quantity attitude is reflected in all the unique varieties of wine they create. Tastings are a bargain at only five dollars, especially since you typically get to sample thirteen to fifteen different varieties. Their Gewürztraminer, which is their signature wine, is a unique, semi-dry white wine made from German Gewürztraminer grapes, and they are one of only 3 wineries in Virginia that utilize this type. Join them for their next family-friendly event on October 25 for wine tasting (of course), pumpkin decorating, and live music by local artist Kevin Kelly.
Williamsburg Winery: Located in Wessex Hundred, a 300 acre farm, wine making on this beautiful, historic property dates back to the 1600’s. Wessex Hundred is also home to the Wedmore Place, a European style country hotel, as well as two restaurants, the Gabriel Archer Tavern and Cafe Provencal, making it a popular place for a serene weekend getaway. The Williamsburg Winery describes their wines as “old world,” with a focus on balance, elegance, and finesse, and they’re best enjoyed with food that is equally as refined. On Friday, October 23, the winery is hosting a release party for their 2013 Adagio, and numerous other unique food and wine pairing events take place throughout the year. For more information on these gatherings and the variety of tastings and tours available, visit their website
Cooper Vineyards: Nestled amongst rolling hills in an old farm community in Louisa, Cooper Vineyards’ mantra is to “make remarkable wines in a relaxing atmosphere.” Their tasting room, which was built using environmentally friendly technology, was voted Virginia’s best tasting room in 2012 and 2013. It is complete with two walls of glass that extend two stories in height, providing a breathtaking view of their extensive vineyard, and making for an unforgettable wine tasting experience. Their veteran winemaker, Graham Bell, has won many coveted awards, and creates delicious white, red, and sweet wines, including Cooper Vineyards’ signature Noche. This sweet red dessert wine is a Norton blend which has been aged in French oak, infused with chocolate ganache, and has hints of black cherry and raspberry. As if that wine alone isn’t good enough reason to visit, they’re hosting live music events featuring food trucks every Friday this month; you definitely don’t want to miss out!
Whichever winery you decide to visit, you’re bound to have a wonderful time. For a complete list of wineries, events, festivals, and wine getaways across all regions of Virginia, visit this website.
Photo by Kenneth Tate