Hooray! It’s October! It’s the first full month of fall, it’s my anniversary month <3, and it’s Virginia Wine Month!
Virginia is home to the very first vineyards in the United States. In 1607, colonists in Jamestown grew the first vineyards producing the first wines of America. They were weak and not any good, but with a little time, TLC, and some help from Mr. Thomas Jefferson, centuries later, the state now produces wines that are strong and complex.
Vineyards are planted in all of Virginia’s regions. While the soils of each region range in type, they all share the same climate, which is a tough one to grow grapes in. The winters can be freezing cold, destroying the roots and trunks of the vines (remember Snowmageddon 1, Snowmageddon 2, and Snowzilla?). If warm weather in the spring comes too soon, any kind of frost can kill the grapes (it was 77 degrees this past February). Excessive heat can dry out the grapes too quickly (hello 90+ degree summers…), while humidity can add too much moisture to them (…with feels like temperatures in the 110s). One must be a very skilled winemaker to know how to deal with Virginia’s crazy climate!
Luckily, Virginia has many skilled winemakers, as the state produces some amazing wines. There are over 230 wineries in Virginia, all of them unique in their own, special ways. Looking back on some of the places that I have visited, here are some that stuck out to me:
- Greenhill Winery and Vineyards has one of the most beautiful views that I have been to. They overlook the hills of Middleburg, with a sky that is never ending. Rather than sitting at a tasting bar, you sit down at a table and enjoy the tasting at your leisure. Greenhill, to me, was about enjoying the wine at your own pace.
- Breaux Vineyards has some of the best Virginia wine that I have ever tasted. They are the only VA winery (that I know of) that produce Nebbiolo, a finicky grape that needs a specific altitude and landscape to produce. They have a Cajun theme that I found rather fun!
- Barboursville Vineyard’s Vertical Octagon tasting was out of this world. Their “Octagon” blend is a Bordeaux Styled blend, and it’s caliber is a step above many like-wines in the area. Barboursville’s “Octagon” has a reputation that goes way beyond Virginia
- RdV Vineyards is all about quality and experience. They grow only four grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. While they only grow four grapes, they grow them with precision. RdV also ensures that you have an experience to remember. The tasting price includes a tour of the property, a food pairing, and samples of their sought after reserved wines.
- Early Mountain Vineyards is one of my favorite wineries in Virginia. It’s beautiful, it’s fun, every single wine is of high quality, and they have some delicious food. Definitely check our their Rosé, which I love so much that I’ve talked about here and here and here!
- The Winery at Bull Run is just plain fun! Yes, they have delicious wine, but whenever I go, I am relaxed, enjoying the music, the company, and having a blast! My favorite wine is Lily’s Viognier. Their Viognier is my favorite of all time…no Viognier compares to theirs!
While I have been to many VA wineries, I haven’t visited them all, and my list of wineries to visit is forever growing.
- I am dying to go to Pippin Hill, which has a breathtaking view and wines to match.
- Blenheim Vineyards is owned by Dave Matthews, and the wines are as creative as he is.
- Tarara Winery have some out of this world white and red blends.
- Norton is a truly Virginia grape, as they were the first to grow it. Chrysalis Vineyards has one of the best examples of this varietal in the state!
- Linden Vineyards. I have tried a few of their wines when they visited Arrowine a few weeks ago, and have been craving their Chardonnay ever since!
- Effingham Manor JUST OPENED (YAY!!! CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED?!) and I cannot wait to go! I have tried many of their wines at various tastings and you’d think they were world renowned, rather than newly opened. I am actually scheduled to go at the end of the month with my friend, Laura Beth!
My list is longer than this, but I didn’t want this post to be a list of wineries that I want to go to…where’s the sense in that? Instead, I hope this post encourages you to visit a Virginia winery this month! If you do, comment below on where you went and your thoughts! I can add it to my list!