Virginia is becoming widely known for its great wine, but have you seen the wineries themselves? They’re gorgeous! We’ve identified wineries with tremendous views and great patios, wineries that are within a mile of a bed and breakfast, those with fireside sipping, and those that are great for families. Today, however, we want to shine a light on the wineries that are meant for those of the drinking age only.
These wineries are places to get away from everything life throws at you, including a baby rattle. I’m a mom of three. There are days I’d like to enjoy the company of my husband without the sounds of children – mine or anyone else’s. If you find yourself in the same boat, this could be a nice asset for you.
According to Kelsey with Visit Loudoun, “Chrysalis Vineyards, located in Middleburg, Virginia, classifies itself as an adult getaway winery. While they do have a family picnic area in front of the winery, Chrysalis maintains their tasting room and other facilities for adults only.”
In addition, I found a recent article from The Armchair Sommelier. Specifically, read the “Warning. I’m about to get on my soapbox.” section, with which, I concur. Then read the explanation from Chrysalis below.
“When I began the design of Chrysalis Vineyards, I envisioned a beautiful oasis in the Virginia countryside where adults could put away the stresses and noises of the city and hectic family life. I wanted to create an island of respite and relaxation where adult friends and family could share time together over a delightful glass of wine and complementary food. Chrysalis makes the best of both worlds (with children or without) by allowing families to enjoy a nice picnic with the beautiful view of the pond and the vines at the venue, but also allowing adults to get away from the crazy life of parenthood and enjoy the facility and tasting room for themselves.” – Jennifer McCloud, Proprietor, Chrysalis Vineyards
Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint Winery and Vineyard. Image by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.
Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint Winery and Vineyard in Markham is up-front with their over 21 rule, even including it on their website with their tasting room hours. “EFFECTIVE 1/1/09: ONLY 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER PERMITTED ACCESS TO THE PREMISES. Thank you for your understanding.” After a little digging, I found a reference to the reason for this rule, and I can, indeed, understand:
“Effective, January 1st, access to the winery is limited to guests 21 years of age and older. We are a family owned and operated winery and place tremendous emphasis on family. This decision was made with the truest interest in the safety of children. There are numerous liability issues that influenced this decision. For the sake of the protecting our family owned business and our children’s future, we were driven to make this change. We are regretful, but it would be more regretful to our family if a child were injured. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and support of this change!” – Howard O’Brien, Owner, Chateau O’Brien, in a 2009 newsletter
Delaplane Cellars‘ website offers Things to Know When Visiting: “We strive to create an environment that highlights the bouquet of our wine, the joy of our farm and the ambiance to match what shimmers in the glass. In doing this, we ask that you keep your party to a maximum of six people and that all guests are over the age of 21 (including children and infants).”
RdV Vineyards. Photo by Jeff Mauritzen.
RdV Vineyards, also in Delaplane, offers tastings and visits by appointment only. Their website also clearly states, “Please note: Our permit does not allow for picnicking. We also cannot allow anyone under the age of 21, which includes infants and children. Likewise, please no pets.”
John Marshall’s Oak Hill Estate
While Barrel Oak is one of Virginia’s most renowned family-friendly wineries, it’s important to note their John Marshall Tasting Experience at Oak Hill is upscale and for adults only. Oak Hill was a childhood home of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, and, Barrel Oak notes, “Due to the historic nature of Oak Hill Estate only guests 21 and older will be seated. Please no children or pets on the Oak Hill Property. You are welcome to visit our family and pet friendly winery – Barrel Oak – right next door.”
While there may not be a written rule one way or the other at a majority of Virginia’s wineries, I would research the visit beforehand if I were to seriously seek family-friendly or adults-only.
Here are the things I would look for:
- Are there children in any of the photos on their Facebook page?
- Is their tasting room particularly upscale or ornate?
- Does the winery tout their family-friendliness?
- Though they’re family-friendly, are there adult-only spaces set aside?
Don’t forget to consult the post I wrote a while ago about family-friendly wineries. If you’re looking to relax and taste without your children in tow, skip the ones found therein.
Sound Off: Which wineries do you love for the lack of children?