Pippin Hill is one of the wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail that remains open in all seasons. It is lucky for wine lovers like me who enjoy wineries in the slow season. I like to take my time on each tasting and I am much more likely to walk away with a few bottles than the average 22 year old. I big portion of my disposable income goes towards my growing wine collection…I mean saving for the down payment on a house. (Sorry Dad! Thanks for the plane ticket to Napa Valley!!!)
Fine jewelry and fine wine are two of a girl’s best friends. The family that has opened Molon Lave Vineyards offers both gorgeous gems at Louizos Goldsmiths and wine in a gorgeous setting. The vineyard is located in Warrenton, VA but is much closer to Bealeton. The family planted the vines 12 years ago and opened their Tasting Room about 5 years ago.
The Tasting Room is is clean, large and is it is completely made of tile and stone . This means if you are unfortunate enough to be there when another guest decides to bring his guitar it isn’t a pleasant cozy winery experience. However, the wine is tasty and interestingly priced (ranging from $24-$32 for the wine and $40 for the aperitif).
Vineyards are famous for their gorgeous rolling landscapes with seas of vines. The only vista that rivals a vineyard in with full greenery before harvest is a snow-covered vineyard wonderland in winter.
The Barboursville Vineyard’s Tasting Room is spacious and cozy simultaneously where high ceilings meet tables for four and comfy armchairs by the fireplace. However, you’re required to pay for your tasting before they’ll even give you a glass. There’s nothing more awkward, less welcoming, and less incentivizing to make additional purchases than asking guests to fork over a credit card when you cross the threshold.
Shenandoah Vineyards is quaint and rustic. The tasting room is staffed by two adorable (old) ladies, which made the tasting reminiscent of being served wine by my grandma. Shenandoah offers three tasting options, starting at $5 for the beginner tasting and going up to $10 reserve tasting. All the tastings includes a tour of the winery which is offered hourly. The tour of the winery includes viewing where the grapes are grown, harvested, and processed. The tasting also includes a few palate cleansing sips of their award winning well water.
With all the buzz feed quizzes going around I thought I would take a shot and share my beliefs. This is my bottle opener fortune telling.
1. Simple Corkscrew
You have arms of steel and you don’t need any help to remove your cork besides pure force of will. You’re a purist and an elitist, no leverage needed.
Hopefully, this isn’t your first time opening a bottle of wine or your screwed. Pun 100% intended. Don’t hurt yourself, kid.
2. Winged Lever Pull Corkscrew
You probably want your wine, and you want it now, and a lot of it. Using a normal cork screw or a fancy contraption can cause problems and complications that you just don’t have time for. This bottle opener is perfect, place the circle on the lip, and you can’t miss. Even a drunk biddy can use this. Your parents probably gave you this when you turned 21.
If you’re not in college… Owning this bottle opener says your recycling bin is full of wine bottles after “book club” and “girl’s night” or even an average wine Wednesday.
3. Advanced Lever Pull
You are most likely a mature adult. The kind of woman (or man) who can manage to keep a few bottles of wine (unopened) for more than a few days. Maybe you are even so classy you have a wine cellar. You definitely don’t use this bottle opener on barefoot.
4. Waiter’s Friend/ Wine Key
The few, the proud, the in industry purists or their allies. You don’t need any frills. You’re a pro. You trust the tried and true simple wine key and uncork with impressive lightning speed. (This is my weapon of choice, in case you were wondering.)
5.) Twist Style
My mom has this. I have no idea where she got it. I honestly didn’t believe it would work when I saw it for the first time. If you own this then you are wise beyond your years. You are patient for efficiency. You chose a bottle opener that works slow and steady from start to finish. You’re reliable. But since you chose such a fragile and light weight opener, don’t let anyone blame you for things that aren’t your fault (like when the bottle opener breaks).
6.) Metal Slide Opener
You’re mysterious. I have no idea how this type of bottle opener could possibly work. You’re rustic and antique. You’re the Phantom of the Opera and MacGyver wrapped into one.
Not only did you have some extra cash to burn but you drink enough wine that you decided to make your opener a permanent fixture in your home. It’s vitally important to you when it’t time to drink you that no time is wasted digging around in your drawer for your opener.
You have a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, hulu plus, netflix, hbo go, an electric can opener, a keurig, a rice cooker, a nut grinder, and a bunch of other electronic gadgets that are only good for one thing. You also probably have a twitter, tumber, blog, Facebook, linked in, and vine. You are 100% on the grid. You should probably consolidate your belongings or you will owe your friends more than beer and a pizza when they help you move.
9.) Champagne Sabor
You bought a bottle opener to open a bottle that doesn’t need an opener. You enjoy superfluous gadgets as long as they aid you in putting on a good show. You’re the life of the party and enjoy being in the limelight. Plus, you’re drinking champagne which makes you fancy.
10.) Cutesie Version of Anything listed above
You probably drink from painted wine glasses and wear furry glass harnesses at wine festivals. You’re either under 25 or reading glasses are red and bedazzled. You most likely sleep with a stuffed animal or have a super sassy bumper sticker. You like to express your femininity and individuality in your favorite color and animal print. You’re a woo girl and there is nothing wrong with that. You go girl!
Narmada Winery is a lovely place to visit on a chilly or rainy day. You’re going to have a hard time finding a more cheerfully decorated tasting room or a better view from inside looking out. The tasting bar is embedded with glitter and peacock feathers. The whole room is bright, colorful, and bursting with Indian heritage.
According to the staff on duty, Narmada hasn’t been doing well in recent times. This is a shame because it has such a heartwarming backstory. A white wine on their tasting list is called “MOM.” This is because owner Pandit Patil’s mother sold her jewelry to buy him a plane ticket from India to the United States when he received a scholarship to an American university. MOM is dedicated to all mothers and would be a perfect gift for yours considering Mother’s day is May 11th.
The Patils placed Narmada in Rappahannock County on 70 acres. They grow 10 varietals on 28 acres. The family has put their heart into building the winery, but the tension caused by the bad economy greets you at the door. The service was strained, and we were asked to cash out after each item we purchased. Alternatively, this might have been because we appeared to be two untrustworthy young people who they fully expected to taste and ditch. However, it just wasn’t a very welcoming environment, so my friend and I didn’t feel like staying long.
Honestly, I think Narmada might be trying to do too much and spreading themselves too thin. They offer three different tasting flights of over 14 wines (which seems like a lot to me for one wine maker), had live music on an early Sunday afternoon, and have a gift shop selling everything from artwork to clothing to greeting cards. They might be focusing too much on culture and not enough on wine. Narmada is along 211 which makes it easy to visit it and a few others including Little Washington, Grey Ghost, or Unicorn.
Afton Mountain Vineyard has the most honest and upfront slogan I have seen yet. Grapes don’t live in ugly places, which isn’t necessarily true, probably refers to the picturesque landscapes of successful wineries. Grapes probably do live in ugly places, but it is clear Afton is not one of them; the landscaping was gorgeous. I just had to stop my car and take a picture of the witty signage. They also sell refrigerator magnets sporting that phrase.
The tall deer fences that protect the vine and signs turning away large parties line the driveway ends with a breathtaking tuscan style winery. Afton Mountain is attempting to stay small. In their tasting room, they support a local artist named Paige Peyton who does farmscapes and still lifes.
They proudly schedule only 8 weddings at most per year with 100 guests or fewer. As an economist, I have a hard time understanding purposefully limiting growth. Their event space is an outdoor pavillion with removable plastic sheeting walls and heat leams. They are afraid that if they host any more events, they will run out of wine.
Their tasting list is only 5 wines for $7, but if you are lucky (like we were), they may have up to 6 more that they will serve you if they have them open. Their logo is another rorschach test like Early Mountain’s, and is actually the letters ‘a,’ ‘m,’ and ‘v’ made out of overlapping mountain shaped lines.
My friend and I both got a glass of the Gewurztraminer and sat out on the patio. Every direction you faced revealed a different picturesque landscape, whether vine, mountains, or lakeside. I wonder what it would be like to live in any of the surrounding houses and live amongst the incredible views on a daily basis.
Afton mountain is a gorgeous place to visit. Their wine menu is reasonably priced. I recommend bringing a picnic basket or cheese plate and spending some time on their patio. Oh, and if you’re single and looking, they host speed dating!