Next to the Blue Ridge Mountains and within a 30-mile radius of Charlottesville, nearly 30 picturesque wineries beckon you to visit. All offer relaxed and friendly wine tastings; tours are available at most. With Thomas Jefferson’s reputation as a wine connoisseur and the fruitfulness of his gardens and orchards, it’s no wonder that the Charlottesville area is one of the most popular places for wine. Fortunately for us, these vineyards also produce grapes that often result in outstanding wines. Many of the Charlottesville wineries are family owned and operated, laid back, and welcoming. This blog will introduce you to some of Central Virginia’s popular wineries.
25 miles northeast of the city of Charlottesville, through gorgeous mountain vistas and horse farms trimmed with great expanses of white board fences are several wonderful vineyards offering a tasty variety of wines. Award winning Horton Vineyards offer a state-of-the-art winery, renowned for its Norton red, this facility pours 36 wines and has ventured into producing a Viognier (vee-oh-NYAY), which Dennis Horton says is possibly their best white wine.
Just south of U.S. 33 is Barboursville Vineyards, the area’s largest and most stunning. This is where you can spend serious time. In the tasting room, they pour 16 to 20 wines. A short walk from the winery takes you to Governor Barbour’s Mansion, the ruins of a house designed by Jefferson and destroyed by fire in 1884.
First Colony Winery, tucked away off State 20 south of I-64, is newer than the previous two, but in 2001 it produced a very fine Cabernet Franc Reserve.
Off of State 151 in Nellysford, southwest of Charlottesville, you’ll find Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, smallest of all the area wineries. Here they do everything by hand. Their wines come largely from berries and other fruits grown on the property. Blackberry Delight, a light dessert wine, is perfect with a bit of chocolate.
Afton Mountain Vineyards on Route 631 south of I-64 is another family operation with lots of smarts. One of Virginia’s first farm wineries, some of Afton’s original vines were planted in 1978. Those blocks are still in production today and Afton now grows a total of 11 varieties on 26 acres.
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and I-64, Veritas Vineyard and Winery produces some very fine wines, including their Cabernet Franc Reserve 2001. Eight tables overlooking rows of vines invite visitors to linger.
White Hall Vineyards, tucked away on Sugar Ridge Road off Route 810, is a destination in itself. Even though you’re out in the country, the winery is definitely uptown. In the sleek and spacious tasting room, you’ll be guided through some dozen wines, including a Gewürztraminer, a distinctive Cabernet Franc, and a Soliterre 2001.
King Family Vineyards, just south of the tiny town of Crozet, was the newest in the area when I visited. Indeed, the tasting room was not yet finished (it has since been completed), but the winery had already produced some fine wines, including a Viognier and a Cabernet Franc of note.
For more information: Contact the Charlottesville/Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, (434) 977-1783 or www.charlottesvilletourism.org.
The Vino Vault is the perfect climate for wine if you need a place to store yours!
In Charlottesville, VA call 434 270 8379 | In Charlotte, NC call 980 498 8004