There’s something to be said about being unique, urban, and chic, and Ox-Eye Winery was a perfect blend of these. The tasting room is separate from the actual vineyard, which is both a bold move and smart choice. Ox-Eye Winery is located in downtown Staunton in an airy shop, which feels like a hip mix of a winery and an art gallery. While you’re enjoying your wine, you can people watch or check out the gorgeous artwork. There’s a small event space above the tasting room which can be used for small gatherings, like a rehearsal dinner.
The winery gets its name from the ox-eye daisies that grow wild on the vineyard property. The actual vineyard has about 23 acres under vine and is located 8 miles from the downtown store. All of the wine is made from estate-grown grapes. Even with a relatively small vineyard, Ox Eye sells about 25% of their grape harvest to other Virginia wineries.
Staunton is a very quaint and pedestrian-friendly town. While having the tasting room separate from the vineyard removes some of the traditional tasting vibe, the downtown location allows for more foot traffic. The locale also allows for direct bottle sales in an urban market without the help of a distributor. If you find a Virginia Wine you like after visiting a festival or a vineyard and choose to purchase it again, it is often difficult to find. Driving out to the vineyard is usually not a cost effective or a desirable option unless you intend to indulge in another tasting or take a tour. Ox Eye’s central location allows for people to drop in and make bottle purchases with ease. This happened 4 or 5 times while we were enjoying our tasting. .
The full tasting included seven wines for a cost of five dollars. We went very quickly through the wine list, which included dry and off dry whites, a blush, three dry reds, and a dessert wine. The speed of the tasting removed any unnecessary chit chat but also didn’t allow for a lot of wine education, which I happen to enjoy.
I alway like to admit when I am being biased. Ox-eye daisies and pink roses are my favorite flowers, so I had no choice but to take home a bottle of the blush wine called Shy Ox. The wine labels are simple because of the elementary ox logo but darling due to the daisy that appears on the sweeter vintages.
Ox-Eye is a nice place to get your feet wet if you’re not a part of the wino world. You don’t have to commit to driving out to a winery and the entire experience didn’t take a half hour. I would plan a visit to Ox-Eye as a pit stop but not necessarily a destination. The shop is small with very limited seating. The wine is amazing but it isn’t a place where you can plan to spend an extended period of time.