The Virginia Grape
The view from Stone Mountain is simply jaw dropping.
Rockbridge is making several wines of note.
Casenel is gaining a reputation for complex, cellar-worthy reds.
Cunningham Creek Winery is one of Central Virginia's newest wineries and set in Fluvanna County, it is not clustered with the region's heavy hitters. Nevertheless, their tasting room is pouring some exceptional wines. The well-designed space is one where you might feel compelled to linger and they offer a range of locally produced crafts and produce in their farm store.
Breaux has built a tasting structure that is as amazing as their wine.
I only recently revisited Breaux Vineyards. There have been a number of structural and staffing changes over the last couple of years. The new tasting structure has redefined that space as one of the the most spectacular in Northern Virginia. Of course it is about more than the tasting room. They recently hired veteran Virginia winemaker Josh Gerard to continue the tradition of excellent Breaux wine. All of the wines are exceptional and the lineup was recently rounded out with a couple of sparklers. If you have never been or have not been recently, you need to drop in.
So there you have it. We should make an effort to support all of these producers. I think you will enjoy the venue and the wine at each destination. As always, let me know what you think.
If you have not been to Rappahannock recently, they deserve another look.
This is the third year I have published a list of my 10 Must-Visit Virginia Wineries. Although I am a fan of every winery on this list, it is not meant to be a top-ten list. It is intended to be a challenge. My primary motivation is to inspire people to explore wineries that they might not otherwise visit. Like my previous lists, I hope that you will try to visit the wineries below.
Of course, beyond this additional group of wineries, there are others that are also deserving. Take a look at my previous collections and make an effort to visit some of them as well.
Stanburn Winery is just a little off the grid and the only winery in rural Patrick County. They do pour wine at a number of festivals, which is how I discovered them. The Stanley family started as a commercial vineyard and supplied fruit to Chateau Morrisette, but decided to put some of their produce to better use. Winemaker Jocelyn Kuzelka trained in Adelaide, Australia. She is is extremely talented and produces real wines of note. Visit the winery or check their website to find out where you can sample their wines.
Advocating for under-appreciated wine regions in the Eastern United States
Stanburn is a little off the grid, but the wines are over the top.
There are only a handful of wineries in the Chesapeake Bay Region and only about half of them a of real note. Good Luck Cellars is definitely in that upper tier. There are several good wines on the tasting menu, but the reds really stand out. Paul Kropp is the owner/winemaker and he is absolutely on the right track.
King Family offers many reasons to visit, but the wine is the main event.
Rappahannock Cellars. is another winery that I have only recently rediscovered. Other Northern Virginia counties seem to capture most of the attention because they are closer to DC. We tend to forget that Rappahannock County contains some excellent wineries and this is one of them. Everything about the experience is first rate and this venue one that you need to make an effort to visit.
Katie DeSouza and Katell Griaud of Casanel Vineyards may be the youngest winemaking team in Virginia. This is only remarkable when one considers the quality of the wine produced. Casanel wine is gaining a reputation for its complexity and depth. The wine, when combined with a beautiful new tasting room and first-rate customer experience is a must-visit winery.
Part of the Good Luck lineup.
The journey to Stone Mountain Vineyards is just part of the adventure. The narrow road to the tasting room winds up the mountain and through the forest until it opens to one of the most beautiful panoramas you will find at any winery. Of course, it is the wine that is at the heart of your quest and you will not be disappointed. Pack a lunch. After your tasting, you will want to take a glass of wine out to the deck and take in the view.
Some of Virginia's best wineries are in the Shenandoah Valley. Kindred Pointe Winery is relatively new, but they are showing great potential. The property is an old horse farm and it still maintains that vibe. The tasting room is housed in a converted stable. This certainly adds to the esthetic, but it is the wine that you are ultimately interested in and I think you will find that this winery is on the right track.
The beautiful tasting room may inspire you to linger.
Kindred Pointe was primarily a horse farm and still maintains that vibe.
One of my local go-to wineries is King Family Vineyards. In part, because it is a venue that allows me to show off the beauty of Central Virginia. We frequently linger to watch one of the polo matches that are frequently hosted on the property. Of course, these are sideshows. Mathieu Finot is one of the most talented winemakers in the state and he is producing world-class wines for this estate. There are many reasons to visit, but the wine trumps them all.
Rockbridge Vineyard has been on the scene since 1992 and winemaker Shep Rouse is one of the most talented winemakers in the valley. If Concord is not your favorite varietal, you might overlook it in favor of the Meritage or one of the other award-winning reds. There are some great things happening at this little Southern-Shenandoah winery. It is a beautiful drive to a destination that is worth your time to visit.