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Promoting wine tourism opportunities in the​​ Eastern United States

Eastern Wine Tourist powered by the Virginia Grape

I tasted through the list of offerings. It was one of those rare tasting room lineups that was completely solid. All of the wines are excellent, which makes it difficult to pick a favorite. We started with a Sauvignon Blanc filled with hints of minerality, bright citrus and crisp acidity. It was a lovely wine, but I particularly liked the Thalia simply because it is unique among Virginia whites. It is a Rhone-style blend of Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier that has an almost creamy texture that mingles with the honeysuckle and peach notes.

​The reds included a light-bodied Gamay and another Rhone blend of Grenache and Syrah. Both are well-crafted and great wines in their own right. Clio, however, is the wine that won the Governor’s Cup and it is the flagship offering. Similar to the 2009, the 2012 was jammy, filled with cherry and chocolate notes and had a very long finish. As an added bonus, I was able to sample the soon-to-be-released 2013 Cabernet Franc. It was big for a Cab Franc. In addition to ripe fruit, it had a sort of earthiness. It is a great example of that varietal and I will return just to purchase a few bottles.

Simply put, Muse Vineyards is a winery that continues to make world-class wines. Regardless of where you live, I would not let distance factor into a decision to visit. Some of the state’s top wines are coming out of this small, boutique operation. You need to get over there and see for yourself. After you do, please let me know what you think.

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Owner(s): Robert Muse and Sally Cowal

Winemaker: Robert Muse

A glimpse of the vineyards and the distant Blue Ridge Mountains.

Muse continues to make world-class wine.

The recently opened and well-appointed tasting room.

Open to Public

Fri-Sat 12 to 8; Sun 12 to 6

​Robert Muse is the winemaker and there were early indications that he would become a top Virginia producer. Muse studied and took a winemaking course with Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, which greatly influenced his approach to the craft of making wine. He originally consulted with Matthieu Finot from King Family, who is a one of the state’s most talented winemakers. It was Finot who advised Muse on the creation of the 2009 vintages. 

​The quality of the estate fruit was another indicator. Central Virginia wineries like Stinson, Blenheim and Gabriele Rausse sourced grapes from Muse. It is a well-known fact that Rausse does not buy inferior fruit.  

​​Currently, Muse is consulting with Tim Rausse. So while Finot has moved on, someone equally talented stepped into the role. A couple more acres of vines were planted, which brings the total to 30. There is additional acreage that can be devoted to grapes, but there are no immediate plans. One thing that remains constant is the quality of the wine. 

There are some grapes cultivated in the vineyards that are not widely grown in the Commonwealth. Aside from Bordeaux varietals, there are Rhones like Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Marsanne and Roussanne. The Italian vinifera Sangiovese and Teroldego round out a roster that is full of surprises.

A glimpse of the vineyards and the distant Blue Ridge Mountains.

Muse Vineyards Profile

     Written by Brian Aug 5, 2015

I first visited Muse Vineyards back in 2015 after they won the Virginia Governor’s Cup. It was almost as an afterthought that Robert Muse and Sally Cowal decided to enter their 2009 Bordeaux blend in that 2015 competition. I certainly knew about Muse Vineyards, but the win accelerated my timeline and I immediately called and made an appointment. I have been a huge fan ever since.

​The approach to Muse and the property are absolutely stunning. As you drive down toward the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, the trees open up to provide a glimpse of the valley and the vineyards. The crossing point is a one-lane bridge that is technically a low-water crossing. (I have heard stories about the waters rising to flow over the bridge, which effectively cuts off access to Muse.) In any case, you are almost at water level when you cross this very scenic river. Then you enter the property and the road winds through the vineyards until you reach the tasting room that is perched on the highest point offering a commanding view of the surrounding valley.

​Muse Vineyards was and still is a small, boutique, Shenandoah Valley winery. On my first visit, they were open only by appointment. In November 2016, however, a well-appointed tasting room opened. So Muse now has regular hours and a professional, customer-oriented staff.

16 Serendipity Lane; Woodstock, Virginia 22664

phone: 540-459-7033