Anyone traveling Routes 29 or 58 in Southern Virginia will quickly know they’re in the Southern Virginia Wine Region. In July, the Southern Virginia Wine Region road signs were unveiled on select primary and secondary roads, making that region the 13th to receive such signs. In total, there are 16 wine regions and American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
According to VirginiaWine.org, “Southern Virginia has a warm to temperate climate with good soil for winemaking in selected areas where the topography is ideal. In this area of Virginia along the North Carolina border, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Grigio and Vidal Blanc are the varietals you’ll find along with a few wines made from grapes and other fruits native to the area.”
“What do I like about Virginia? The countryside. It’s magnificent,” said Robert “Oz” Clarke. Clarke recently sat down to discuss his 2013 trip to Virginia, at which time he was the keynote speaker at the Virginia Wine Summit.
Before Clarke discussed Virginia’s ability to grow great Viognier, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, however, he gushed over Virginia’s Southern hospitality, history, and music. Check out the video.
Mr. Clarke is a well-known international wine connoisseur, with his own website stating, his “formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and accessible, no-nonsense approach.” In short, Oz knows his stuff and he isn’t shy about sharing his opinion. To back it up, Mr. Clarke is a decorated writer on the subject, garnering awards from the Glenfiddich and Wine Guild multiple times each, André Simon, James Beard, Julia Child, World Food Media and Lanson, among numerous others. Clarke is a bestselling author and has appeared in several BBC series, including his most recent ‘Oz and Hugh’s Last Orders.’ Harpers hails, “Oz Clarke is the nearest thing to genius in the world of wine writing.”
“It took me a long time to get to Virginia. I thought it was absolutely smashing.” – Oz Clarke
Virginia’s Appalachia is ripe for the tasting, and Bon Appétit Appalachia! maps out fresh, local flavors for your road trip indulgences. Please your palate at 65 sites within Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands, Heart of Appalachia and Shenandoah Valley. For the ultimate tasting adventure (a bucket list by itself, really!), eat your way through the entire 205,0000-square-mile region along the Appalachian Mountains (Mississippi to New York).
Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque
When you spend three days along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, you can indulge in a delish dish from Bon Appétit Appalachia! farm-to-fork restaurant Oddfella’s Cantina, as well as the restaurant at Chateau Morrisette Winery. Extend your stay or mix in tastings from additional Appalachian wineries, including Abingdon Vineyard and Winery and MountainRose Vineyards.
When in Lexington be sure to see the historic Natural Bridge as you sip and savor your way around. Rockbridge Vineyard, Lexington Valley Vineyard and Southern Inn Restaurant are all Bon Appétit Appalachia! stops.
The Bon Appétit Appalachia! initiative is vast. Forks up and napkins down for all of the fantastic flavors that await!
Additionally, the map outlines farm tours, festivals, and farmers markets that deliver fresh tastes and first-hand culinary experiences. Download the map (22 Virginia sites) or navigate online to see all 65 Virginia sites.
As the summer winds down, a short getaway at the end of the season is always a great way to wrap things up. Include some of these cool culinary spots around.
SKYLINE WINE, DINE, RECLINE TRAIL
Did you know that 27 wineries, a whiskey distillery, incredible restaurants and the highest concentration of B&Bs in the State of Virginia are tucked into the edges of Skyline Drive? As you’re spending the weekend cruisin’ through 105 miles of natural scenic beauty, hop off for a break to take in a winery or two, check out one of the amazing restaurants, and don’t forget to make reservations at one of their many quaint B&Bs.
ASPEN DALE WINERY AT THE BARN
Located in Delaplane, Virginia on one of the most exciting wine trails in the Washington, D.C. area, Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn is a boutique winery that offers a unique experience for wine lovers. The legacy of Aspen Dale’s revolutionary-era agricultural experience drives the winery’s stewardship. Aspen Dale has endeavored to capture the best of Colonial and European wine making techniques and blendings, while the ambience of the 200 year-old barn winery and thoroughbred horse farm inspires. Aspen Dale’s passion for history, horses and wines is profound, as their dreams have been brought to life, providing the mellowness of a boutique winery experience that lingers long after the glass empties.
211 SCENIC VINO WINE TRAIL
What a Daytrip! Hop on Route 211, one of the prettiest scenic drives in Virginia. Getting to the premier wineries of the 211 Scenic Vino Wine Trail is half the fun! The gorgeous rolling hills on the route lead to Shenandoah National Park, America’s favorite drive, Skyline Drive, and the quaint village of Little Washington … the town George laid out in 1749 (just an hour from Big Washington DC)! Along the way you’ll find five (soon to be seven) of Virginia’s best wineries, a whiskey distillery, unique boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and the approaching majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Drive up to Skyland for some blueberry ice cream pie. Hike to a waterfall. Do the ziplines. Stay and enjoy the many Inns and gourmet eateries along the way, you’ll get to taste Virginia’s best award-winning wines. Our tip: go backwards! Take the gorgeously scenic drive first to Sperryville, the quaint town named DC’s best weekend getaway by Huffington Post. Enjoy the approaching Blue Ridge vistas. Then slowly work your way home!
COASTAL VIRGINIA ALE TRAIL (Taste Tidewater Tours)
Taking that last trip to Virginia Beach? If you’re a beer enthusiast, the Coastal Virginia Ale Trail is definitely something to put on the to-do list. Dedicated to all things local, let Taste Tidewater take you to the best craft beer the Virginia Beach/ Norfolk area has to offer. Taste and tour up to three venues based on availability. The tours generally last about four hours and include local history and lore, as well as tips on tasting and pairing beer with food.
Catoctin is the first family-owned distillery since before prohibition. Co-owner Scott Harris talks about the distilling process.
LOUDOUN WEST BREW BUS / CREEK CROSSING FARM BED & BREAKFAST
Built in 1773 by the Quaker Edward Thompson, Creek Crossing Farm was one of three plantations and several large tracts of land owned by him in early Colonial Loudoun County. Located in Virginia’s Hunt Country, in a secluded valley just outside of the present day village of Lincoln, there are more than 25 acres of open fields with cattle, woods with wild turkey, pheasants and deer, and a creek that waters the entire farm, feeding organic blueberry and raspberry fields. Venture over to Loudoun and take a trip on the Loudoun West Brew Bus. Make stops at historic Corcoran Brewing, Adroit Theory brewery and Catoctin Distilling, and relax as you get a taste of the Loudoun brew scene without worrying about driving.
BELIVEAU ESTATE B&B AND WINERY
Treat yourself to a stay at Beliveau Estate, a premium B&B and Winery. The estate’s winery has received more than 30 awards since opening in 2012, including 2013 Silver Best Winery by the readers of Blue Ridge magazine. It has a beautiful tasting room, a covered outside veranda, picnic spots, on-site hiking, and in the cooler months a warm fireplace to sip wine around. Enjoy a weekend of true ambiance enjoying all the amenities the estate has to offer.
WINE LOVERS PACKAGE – Arcady Vineyards Bed & Breakfast and Wine Tours
Enjoy two nights at the only Charlottesville Wine Country B&B with a working vineyard! The luxury accommodations offer a whirlpool tub for two, wine fridge with sparkling wine, heated tiled bath floor, free Wifi, Bose CD/radio, TV/VCR and port, and local chocolate turn down. Package includes a full farm fresh breakfast each morning, bottle of sparkling wine chilled in your suite, and a wine and cheese social at check in. You will enjoy a personalized, all-inclusive wine tour with the oldest owner-operated tour company in Charlottesville. Visit four wineries with a deluxe local cheese/fruit/local chocolate platter, and bottled water. The wine tour also provides transportation to downtown Charlottesville for dining.
CULINARY DELIGHTS – SMITHFIELD STATION
Smithfield is world famous for Smithfield Ham, but that is only half the story. Additionally, Smithfield is a quaint coastal town with access to some of the freshest seafood on the Eastern Seaboard. This package focuses on the two hallmarks of dining in Smithfield, ham and fresh local seafood and includes: one-night stay in their Deluxe Lodge Rooms, Boardwalk Rooms or Cottages, or the Lighthouse; dinner for two in the award-winning restaurant. Dinner includes soup, appetizer to share, entrée, dessert, coffee or tea, and a bottle of house wine. Get your getaway started right with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries in your room upon arrival. And don’t forget to stop by Virginia’s largest winery, the Williamsburg Winery!
DOWNTOWN BEER TRAIL PACKAGE – Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Staunton is now home to two Craft breweries, RedBeard Brewing and Shenandoah Valley Brewing. With intimate taprooms and a fine selection of beers all produced on property, come on down and sample some of the Valley’s finest. All within a short walk of our front door, no driving needed! Your package includes: Overnight accommodations, breakfast for two and parking, 6 beer flights (4 oz. pours) from Redbeard, 2 pints from Shenandoah Valley Brewing, a free tasting at Hops retail store, and a $15.00 Gift Certificate to Shenandoah Pizza (and their huge beer list!)
FOODE EXCLUSIVE CULINARY EXPERIENCE – Various Fredericksburg Locations
Experience a delectable 5 course meal especially prepared for you with locally sourced fresh ingredients. Meet your chef and learn the inspiration behind your dishes during your culinary delight! This package includes: One night at a Fredericksburg-area hotel (price varies by lodging tier selection) and especially prepared 5-course meal for two.
SHARED WINES & TREASURED TIMES – Landsdowne Resort
This is a comprehensive wine and culinary adventure in the heart of DC Wine Country as this Virginia wine country tour takes two adults from vineyard and back to the Virginia winery resort. You will be whisked away by a private car for a five-hour winery tour to experience as many wine tours and tastings as your heart desires. Choose from our partner wineries: Breaux Vineyards, Corcoran Vineyards, Doukénie Winery and Sunset Hills Vineyard. Package Includes: luxurious overnight accommodations (double occupancy), private car for a total of 5 hours, $100 Dining Credit, and breakfast buffet for two adults.
BASIC CHEESEMAKING AT CORNERSTONE FARM
Getaway and learn something new together! Learn the basic art of making cheese from scratch. Basic cheese instructions concentrate on “farmers” cheese, ricotta and mozzarella. Easy to make when you get back home. In the individualized 1-day, 2-night getaway, you will learn how to make simple basic cheese from scratch. The day will be spent learning and making a couple basic cheeses, with each person bringing home with them what they prepared. When not cheesemaking, enjoy strolling around the farm, sitting on the deck’s in lounge chairs and rockers, or watching the farm animals. So grab your friends or family and come down to the farm for some fun-filled time away! Package includes cheesemaking, 2-night stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all cooking supplies.
SHENANDOAH WINE TRAIL – By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast
Get a true taste of Shenandoah with this valley getaway package including: Two nights in one of three luxurious cottages, a romantic dinner for two at BEYOND ($60 Value), complimentary red or white Virginia wine upon arrival, a light version of their gourmet picnic to carry to the Valley Wineries of your choice (includes gourmet cheeses, French bread, fresh fruits & dessert), hot gourmet breakfast basket delivered to your cottage door each morning or served in the Common to Main House guests. Wineries nearby include: Cave Ridge Vineyard (10% Discount on cases), Wolf Gap Vineyard & Winery, Shenandoah Vineyards (10% discount on cases), North Mountain Vineyard & Winery, and BlueStone Vineyards.
The Boar’s Head Inn
VIRGINIA WINE PACKAGE- Boar’s Head Inn
Experience Love by the Glass with the Boar’s Head Virginia Wine Package, which combines Four Diamond accommodations and dining with impeccable Virginia wines. Virginia’s quintessential escape, Boar’s Head, offers a warm, intimate ambiance, exceptional service and unparalleled Southern hospitality. Package includes: two night’s accommodations, a welcome gift of one bottle of Virginia wine with an artisan fruit and cheese platter, daily breakfast in the Old Mill Room, a self-guided tour to a local winery (including house credit for two tasting passes), a special three-course Virginia wine dinner for two in the Old Mill Room.
WINE OR BEER LOVERS TOUR – Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast
Spend two relaxing nights, Tuesday thru Saturday, in any of the tranquil rooms and enjoy a welcoming wine or beer basket stocked with goodies. Then be treated to the vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains while being chauffeured to three of Virginia’s finest wineries and/or micro-breweries only minutes from the Belle Hearth. All of this libation, plus a three-course gourmet breakfast each morning.
VIRGINIA IS FOR CRAFT BEER AND BARBEQUE LOVERS ESCAPE – Oceanfront Inn, Va. Beach
Celebrate your love and passions in life with our exclusive package in honor of the Virginia is for Lovers award-winning slogan. Complete your experience with our Virginia is for Beer & Barbecue Lovers’ Basket including 2 bottles of Green Flash beer, an Oceanfront Inn bottle opener, two Oceanfront Inn pint glasses, and a gift certificate to locals’ favorite, Beach Bully Barbeque.
Virginia’s vineyards are beautiful, especially this time of year when the vines are heavy with luscious grapes. Savor the view while you also savor the vintage at these wineries boasting impeccable views. Their patios and decks are perfect for summer evening unwinding.
Early Mountain Vineyards
Virginia Tourism staff were asked their favorite wine tasting room and tasting experience, but the responses exited the tasting room in favor of the outdoors …
“The outside views from Barboursville tasting room are beautiful with the mountains in the distance. We also enjoyed walking the trail to the ruins of the Barboursville Mansion, which are on the vineyard property.” (Barboursville, VA)
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
“King Family Vineyards. I love the range of the wines, the beautiful vistas at the winery, and you even catch a polo match on summer Sundays!” (Crozet, VA)
“King Family not only has an excellent patio/outdoor situation, but on Sundays during spring/summer they host Polo games on-site. I recently went and was blown away by the huge numbers of people out there attending the games. Everyone had lawn chairs, pop-up tents, huge tailgating spreads, dogs, kids, etc. It was a great Sunday afternoon activity. The view is great right next to the mountains and the polo games were really exciting—especially while enjoying some great VA wine!”
“Chateau Morrisette, of course. The setting right off the Blue Ridge Parkway is wonderful … Best scenic ride winery in the western region, in my opinion.” (Floyd, VA)
“Pippin Hill. Their tasting room is really pretty but the lounge areas on the porch are even better.” (North Garden, VA)
West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery
“We went to a winery last Sunday with an incredible view … Pippin Hill.”
“Early Mountain. They have beautiful indoor and outdoor seating.” (Madison, VA)
“Glass House has a tropical conservatory, patio with a view, and they also serve locally made chocolates.” (Free Union, VA)
“Afton Mountain has an outdoor porch with scenic mountain vistas.” (Afton, VA)
Little Washington Winery
“A favorite of mine is the West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery … a dreamy rural setting in the Wytheville hills, this family owned and operated winery provides a most appreciated respite that includes local foods, their wines and soulful local musicians to further enchant the spirit.” (Max Meadows, VA)
“Little Washington Winery. Great view from their deck. It was raining when we were there but they let us take Lucy, our dog, in too.” (Washington, VA)
With more than 260 wineries to choose from all across Virginia, there are most certainly dozens more wineries with outstanding scenic views. Sound off by leaving a comment! We want to know which one(s) you flock to on a summer evening.