From holiday decorations to illuminated vineyard tours, craft shows, ornament decorating, caroling and winemaker dinners, a number of Virginia wineries provide a warm place to escape the chill and hectic holiday rush.
Wine your way into the holiday spirit at the following Virginia wineries and cideries.
— NORTHERN VIRGINIA—
Tarara Winery — Leesburg
Located in the northeastern corner of Loudoun County, Tarara Winery is hosting their annual holiday open house on Thursday, December 7 (6-9pm). Tarara winemaker Jordan Harris is known for producing some of the finest single-vineyard wines in the state. Guests will be able taste a number of single vineyard wines from previous years. The event will also feature live music and food from Ford’s Fish Shack. The Tarara’s Cabernet Franc made from grapes grown in the Hill Block of Nevaeh vineyard and Viognier are worth stocking up to pair with holiday meals.
Casanel Vineyards & Winery — Leesburg
Located in the central part of the Loudoun County wine region, Casanel will be decorating the tasting room and winery for guests to enjoy a festive setting to enjoy wine and friends. On Friday December 1, Casanel is hosting their annual Ugly Sweater Club Party.
Breaux Vineyards — Purcellville
The largest winery in the Loudoun County region, Breaux Vineyards is located on a 404-acre farm with 104 acres under vine. The winery is offering a special holiday brunch on Sunday, December 17. Pickup bottles of Breaux Viognier, Merlot Reserve and Nebbiolo to pair with holiday meals with family and friends.
— CENTRAL VIRGINIA —
Veritas Vineyards — Afton
Located in the charming town of Afton, Veritas Vineyards is a must visit for the holidays. The Veritas team goes all out to help spread the holiday spirit with decorations and events. The annual Christmas caroling singalong, including the Virginia Sil’hooettes, a capella group from the University of Virginia, will be held on Friday, December 8. Cheese, charcuterie, desserts, mulled wine and of course award-winning wines made by winemaker Emily Pelton will be available. Enjoy Veritas Scintilla sparkling wine with friends while relaxing in the large leather couches in front of the stone fireplace for an escape from shopping mall crowds. For guests in need of an overnight getaway during the holidays, there is an elegant eight room Inn on the property.
Blue Bee Cider — Richmond
On Sunday, December 3, Blue Bee Cider in Richmond’s historic Scott’s Addition neighborhood will host the second annual Christkindlmarkt, which features local vendors and artists, along with plenty of cider. Blue Bee’s dry Charred Ordinary cider pairs well with a many different holiday dishes, especially salty hams, and the Harvest Ration dessert cider is perfect to pair with desserts.
Trump Winery — Charlottesville
During select upcoming dates, Trump Winery offers a unique holiday experience for visitors with horse-drawn carriage rides through their decorated vineyard wonderland. Guests at the Albemarle House during the holiday season will enjoy decorated accommodations. Any of their sparkling wines will pair well with holiday meals.
— NORTHERN NECK —
Ingleside Vineyards — Colonial Beach
Founded in 1980 by the Flemer family, Ingleside Vineyards is located on Virginia’s Northern Neck, and is part of the George Washington Birthplace AVA and the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. Ingleside will offer two holiday open house weekend (December 2-3, 9-10) featuring holiday refreshments, mulled wine and cider along with Ingleside wine and gift specials. For visitors that would like to pair history with their holiday wine festivities should visit George Washington’s birthplace national monument, located just six miles away from Ingleside.
General’s Ridge Vineyard— Hague
Part of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail holiday open house on December 9, General’s Ridge will offer visitors holiday refreshments along with wine and will give tours of the decorated Manor House on property. The General’s Ridge Petit Manseng (made from one of the most promising grape varieties in Virginia) will pair perfectly with a range of holiday dishes.
The Tides Inn — Irvington
Though not a winery, The Tides Inn is just minutes from two wineries on the Northern Neck. The annual Christmas Marketplace at The Tides Inn will be held on Saturday, December 9, featuring live music, holiday photos, crafts from local artisans, holiday treats, cooking and ornament decorating. An overnight here offers a relaxing escape from holiday crowds.
— NORTHERN CENTRAL VIRGINIA —
Narmada Winery — Amissville
Located in the town of Amissville, about 20 minutes west of Warrenton, Narmada Winery will offer a holiday ‘Corks to Craft’ activity each Saturday in December. Here visitors make ornaments from wine corks while enjoying Narmada wine. Visitors can even BYOC, bring their own corks, or use those provided by the winery. A fun, different and relaxing activity away from the hustle and bustle of shopping malls. Narmada will release two new wines during the holiday — 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2012 Lotus late harvest vidal blanc (done is passito style, where grapes are dried on straw as a way to concentrate flavors and sugars in the grapes).
Barrel Oak Winery — Delaplane
Located in the town of Delaplane, just off Interstate 66, Barrel Oak Winery opened in 2008 and is known to be one of the most family and dog friendly wineries in the state. Barrel Oak employees decorate the tasting room for the holidays, turning it into a winter wonderland. Customers are invited to the holiday decoration reveal the day after Thanksgiving. Try the ‘reserve tasting’ and enjoy a bottle of your favorite wine with live music available Sunday afternoons throughout the holiday season (check website for performers and times).
— SHENANDOAH REGION —
North Mountain Vineyard & Winery — Toms Brook
Situated in the northwestern part of the Shenandoah Valley, North Mountain Vineyards offers visitors fantastic views, excellent wine, and two events for the holiday season. On December 2, North Mountain will host their annual Bavarian Christkindle market, offering bratwurst and German specialties, live music throughout the day and of course North Mountain wine and views of the Blue Ridge foothills. The annual Winter Solstice Celebration, on December 16, will include a torchlight walk through the vineyard, bonfire lighting, and live music paired with North Mountain wines.
CrossKeys Vineyards — Mt. Crawford
Located in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley AVA on 125-acres (30-acres under vine), CrossKeys Vineyards officially opened in 2008. CrossKeys will kick off the holiday season with their annual Illumination Night on Saturday, December 9. The event is family-friendly and will include dessert, hot chocolate and of course CrossKeys wines. The CrossKeys Bistro will be open for dinner as well that evening.
Showalter’s Orchard & Greenhouse — Timberville
Beginning Saturday, December 2, Showalter’s will offer illuminated walks through their orchards. Visitors can also enjoy a reading of The Night Before Christmas, pictures with Santa, and shop at their holiday market featuring local artisans. Flights of apple cider from Old Hill Cider with holiday refreshments are also available.
Bluestone Vineyard — Bridgewater
Located on rolling hills in the center of the Shenandoah Valley, Bluestone Vineyard will offer a four-course Christmas dinner with winemaker Lee Hartman On December 9.
— SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA —
Chateau Morrisette Winery — Floyd
In western Virginia, Chateau Morrisette offers several holiday events for visitors. The winery and restaurant will be fully decorated, including a full Christmas tree. The winery will host two open house weekends including wine tastings, hors d’oeuvres, and music.
Please check winery websites for prices, times and additional details.
A Virginia native, Frank Morgan works in the Legal and Data Privacy group of a global company by day. He is the author of the DrinkWhatYouLike.com wine blog, started seven years ago to chronicle his wine travel experiences and to share stories of the wines, wineries, and winegrowers of Virginia. His site was recently named one of the top wine news blogs by Millesima. Morgan is also a contributor for edibleDC magazine, the wine site Snooth, founder of the monthly virtual wine tasting series Virginia Wine Chat (started in 2013), and is the associate editor of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine, the only print magazine dedicated to the state’s wine industry.
When not writing to raise awareness of the local wine industry or taking Wine & Spirit Education Trust classes, he can be found playing at the park with his daughter or reading his way through every published work of David Foster Wallace. He lives in the Tidewater area.