Tag Archive | vineyard

Barrel Oak Winery

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I have been to Barrel Oak twice now actually and I have had a delightful time on each visit. Barrel Oak Winery is in Delaplane, Virginia. The wine is okay and overpriced but that isn’t really why you go to a place like Barrel Oak. In the busy months, they are open until 9pm on the weekends. They are not trying to provide a premium winery experience. What they are trying to do is create an atmosphere that says “bring your kids, bring your pets, bring your grandma, bring anyone you know, grab a bottle or two or three and stay awhile.” It’s essentially a family and pet friendly bar.

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Molon Lave Vineyard

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.

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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).

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Barboursville Vineyards

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.

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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.

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Shenandoah Vineyards

 

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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.

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Afton Mountain Winery

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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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!

Prince Michel Vineyard

With new wineries opening in Virginia practically every day, our 2014 VA wine maps are almost obsolete. Wineries that have been around protect a piece of VA history.  Prince Michel Vineyard (pronounced like Michelle) celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2012.

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It is easy to visit Prince Michel because it is located right on the beaten path along Rt. 29 between Madison and Culpeper. You can’t miss it because it has giant wind chime wine glasses out front. Unfortunately, since Prince Michel is located so close to a main road, sitting outside is only pleasurable if you like listening to cars drive by.

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Early Mountain Vineyards

Early Mountain Vineyards is one of the hidden gems in the Virginia wine industry. Early Mountain is owned by Steve Case, the former CEO of AOL.  It is a major shock that Early Mountain isn’t a main attraction with their collection of great wines, rustic ambiance, adorable gift mart, and stellar food.  This winery cuts no corners in giving you an amazing experience. IMG_2106.jpg

 

I felt like I stepped onto the set of “Reign” or “Game of Thrones” (which are two of my favorite TV shows). The sconces, stonework, and fireplaces gave a regal vibe as soon as you crossed the threshold. The tasting room was massive and had space on chairs and couches for well over one hundred people.

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Green VA Wineries

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Agriculture and tourism are two of Virginia’s largest industries. Wineries are a very important part of both of these industries. With over 250 wineries and multiple wine trails, Virginia has established itself as a wine lover’s destination vacation. Luckily for the planet, wineries haven’t been entirely excluded from the green movement.

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VA wineries can be certified as Virginia Green Wineries by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality when they prove that they are practicing at least three of the following  “core activities”:

  • Recycling and reduction of waste: Must place highly visible and well-marked recycling containers in all visitor areas

  • Minimization of the use of disposable foodservice products: Must use products that are made from bio-based or renewable resources and provide for recycling or composting of items

  • Minimization of the use of pesticides / herbicides / fungicides and fertilizers: Must have a plan to minimize the use of chemical treatments associated with grape production

  • Efficient water use: Must have a plan for water conservation

  • Energy efficiency: Must have a plan in place to reduce overall energy consumption Continue reading

Barren Ridge Vineyard

When you arrive at Barren Ridge Vineyards, you’ll find an operation the Higgs family has poured their heart and soul into.  The farm was named Barren Ridge because it receives less rain than the surrounding valley. The property was originally an apple orchard that has been in the family since 1934. Grapes and apples grow well under similar conditions, so the family decided to transition from orchard to vineyard. In 2007, the Higgs, along with some family friends, planted the first acre of the vine. You can find the whole heartwarming story here.

Rascal, the Jack Russel, sitting by the fire

Rascal, the Jack Russel, sitting by the fire

They only produce about 4,000 cases a year but plan to expand their small scale facility. The grapes are about half estate grown, meaning that the rest are purchased from other growers. Barren Ridge is an upscale mom and pop winery. After the property was turned into a vineyard, the apple shed was converted into the winery and tasting space. The tasting room proudly displays their awards on the mantle over the fireplace.  Both the indoor and outdoor areas are outfitted with patio furniture which keeps the atmosphere casual.  Barren Ridge Vineyards also has a gorgeous rustic event space above their tasting room. If you’re planning a wedding with a country vintage feel, this would be the perfect place.

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Pearmund Cellars

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Pearmund Cellars is another great example of a stellar winery experience. Wine Lovers Magazine named Pearmund Cellars the #1 winery overall in Virginia for 2013, and I can see why. The staff was friendly and inclusive. In their restroom, they have hung the bust head the pesky jackrabbit that they will jokingly tell you eats their vine.

Jackalope

Jackalope

I went with two girls I grew up with, who are pretty much my sisters, and our moms. We came in right near closing and had just missed a special Valentine’s Weekend tasting, but the staff was kind enough to share their leftover chocolate covered strawberries with us. Pairing the strawberries, one of my favorite desserts, with the Petit Verdot was to die for.

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