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The United States has a number of wine regions, but few are within the Southern United States. The wine tradition in Virginia dates back to the founding of America. One of the earliest vineyards was planted at Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson.
Today the majority of the wineries are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the towns around Charlottesville, Afton, and Crozet, although you’ll also find them as far east as Williamsburg and as far west as Abingdon. Now there are over 300 of them, producing many varieties including the famed Norton grape varietal.
Virginia’s wine country is an easy day trip from both Richmond and Washington DC. Keep in mind that these wineries are on winding country roads, so book a driver or set a designated driver in advance.
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Wineries to Visit
There are so many wineries to visit that it’s hard to choose, but those in Central Virginia are easily clustered together to visit more than one in a day.
Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Afton is one of the most beautiful, with its iconic “Love” sign above the tasting room. The terrace sells sandwiches and picnic supplies. They serve old world varietals, including sparkling wine.
Blenheim Vineyards is owned by musician Dave Matthews, located in Charlottesville. Located on a historic farm, the winery has a female winemaker and produces Viognier, among other styles.
Barboursville Vineyards in the namesake town of Barboursville produces Italian-style wines at a vineyard dating back to 1976. Their red wine, Octagon, is among the most awarded in the state. They also have a restaurant and an inn.
Prince Michel Vineyard in Leon has stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The tasting room offers a variety of styles, including dessert wines. In addition to the vineyard, they also have an onsite brewpub and accommodations.
Other Experiences in Virginia Wine Country
If you’ve had your fill of wineries, there are plenty of things to do in the nearby towns. In Charlottesville, you can tour a local craft distillery or go on a nature walk with llamas. You can also sample the cuisine on Taste of Charlottesville Food Tours.
Tour Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, to learn about its history. The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA has the most extensive collection of Aboriginal art and artifacts outside of Australia. You can also go hiking in nearby Shenandoah National Park or drive the scenic Skyline Drive.
The majority of the wineries in Virginia’s wine country have places to eat on-site, whether it’s a casual counter with sandwiches and charcuterie or a full-service dining room.
In Crozet, landmark eatery Crozet Pizza has been slinging their signature pies since 1977, along with local craft beer. Fardowners has elevated pub fare, including the house-smoked wings, burgers, and vegetarian options.
Looking for a place to stay while in Virginia wine country? Clifton Inn is a historic property is tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Veritas has a hotel with rooms named for towns in England. This luxurious yurt has a hot tub and is close to wineries.