Visiting a winery is a fantastic way to learn more about the winemaking process in addition to tasting firsthand all of the various wine varieties and selections that are available. One of the premier locations for wineries in the United States is in Virginia. Virginia produces a lot of various wine brands and is home to a large number of premium wine distilleries.
There are a lot of different wineries all over the state of Virginia for you to explore, which gives you plenty of options to choose from as far as education and tasting are concerned.
Because there are so many different wineries in Virginia, you can experience a lot of different elements from wine producers all across the state. There are several reasons why you should consider visiting a winery, especially if you’re a hardcore wine enthusiast. However, wineries can provide great platforms for family vacations, special occasions, anniversaries, honeymoons, and more.
Virginia has over 60+ wineries that you can choose to visit, which is why it’s such a hub for those interested in exploring what wine manufacturers and production facilities are all about.
If you’re someone who is interested in visiting a Virginia winery but haven’t been able to make a final decision about which one is worth your time, you will find this informational guide very useful. In this guide, we’re going to go over all of the most important elements and factors that you need to consider before deciding on which winery you want to explore.
To begin, let’s take a look at exactly what a winery is and what type of things you can expect to see once arriving on a tour.
What are Wineries?
At their core, wineries are facilities, building, and locations in which wine of multiple brands, or a single brand are cultivated from beginning to end. These places are host to a wide range of different equipment pieces and other infrastructure, which is used during the process of wine cultivation.
When you visit a winery of any kind, you will be able to see first-hand all of the various steps involved with creating the wine offered by the winery in addition to learning more history about a specific wine or company.
Most wineries own the vineyards that they use to harvest the grapes used during their winemaking process. However, not all of them do, which is something to keep in mind If you’re interested in seeing how the vineyards used for your wine are upheld. Wineries, in essence, employ winemakers who facilitate the entire winemaking process from beginning to end.
Types of Wineries
There are three main types of wineries in existence, all of which use different locations, building designs, equipment, and harvesting techniques to produce the final bottle that you drink. In order for you to learn a little bit more about wineries and all of the various types out there, we’re going to go into detail about what you can expect from the three main types of wineries that are in existence today.
Farm-style wineries are some of the most common and well-established wineries that you’ll find throughout the United States. To start a farm winery legally, you’ll need to receive a special license that will allow you to convert your farm into a wine cultivation location.
This license will, in turn, give you the ability to sell wine from your farm location, one of the core features about farm wineries is that the grapes are grown and sold on the same farm as opposed to other types of wineries out there.
These urban wineries are a fairly new phenomenon due to the fact that there are a lot of different wine companies beginning to move into more crowded areas of their town or city to save money on traditional rent costs and other operational fees.
Urban wineries consist of a building that is in much more of an urban location. Urban wineries oftentimes use grapes that are grown in separate locations from around the world until they import them into their facility to begin the winemaking process.
A micro-winery is basically any winery facility or building that does not come with its own integrated vineyard. That means that these types of wineries source their grapes from exterior sources, which means that the winery will also typically offer more options in terms of the wine selections that they provide. Some states require that micro wineries obtain a license, which only permits them to buy ingredients from local suppliers.
Best Wineries in Virginia
As stated earlier, the state of Virginia is home to a lot of different wineries, which makes it one of the best states to book a tour if learning winemaking is something that you’re interested in. In the following section, we’re going to take an in-depth look at some of our top recommended wineries in Virginia that you can visit today.
Keep in mind, each one of these wineries will vary in terms of the features that they offer, how large they are, what classification they meet, and many other factors. Assess what your visit will consist of and how many people will be visiting the winery with you, what type of event you are celebrating, and any other important facts that will determine how you would like to set up your visit.
The Ankida Ridge Vineyards is considered to be a micro-winery that is located on the easternmost slop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This vineyard location is very popular with wine enthusiasts and hobbyists during the springtime due to the lovely weather and beautiful scenery.
The immediate ambiance that you will notice when stepping foot onto this vineyard is how serenely peaceful the location is. There are several sheep located on the Ankida Ridge Vineyards, which adds another layer of depth and character to the locality overall. The trees located in this vineyard are very vibrantly colored and really add a unique element to the vineyard that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Ankida Ridge Vineyards is fairly simple as it relates to the number of features and touring options you have access to. One of the favorite activities of individuals who visit this vineyard is to have a personal picnic on the lawn of the vineyard. The Ankida Ridge vineyards provide you with a charcuterie menu from which you can choose from a wide range of different wine varieties and options.
Best Wines: Ankida Ridge Chardonnay, Sparkling Blanc de Blancs, Rockgarden Vert
Beliveau Estate Winery is another premier vineyard location that is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This winery is set on a 165-acre plot of land, and It is located approximately 12 miles from Blacksburg. The Beliveau Estate Winery offers a lot of unique tour features and amenities that you can enjoy for virtually any occasion or event.
One of the main features of the Beliveau Estate Winery is the fact that it’s home to an outdoor tasting room that has an outdoor patio that allows you to take in the sprawling size and design of the winery while enjoying your favorite glass of wine.
Another really cool feature about this winery is that it has an on-site trail that extends all the way throughout the rural grounds of the vineyard so you can explore the surrounding environment at your own pace. If you want to get an exhilarating sensory experience, the winery has a lavender garden on-site, which provides an out of this world sensory experience for you to enjoy while visiting the winery.
This is a really unique feature that you won’t find at virtually any other winery, which makes Beliveau Estate Winery a highly sought-after destination for those interested in getting an up-close look at how wine is made.
The winery also has a spot on the land that is home to a couple of serene ponds that make the perfect setting for picnics or other informal events that you may be interested in participating in during your visit. For those that want to get the full experience of what Beliveau Estate Winery has to offer, you should consider picking one of the meal options provide don the Chef’s daily menu.
Best Wines: Mystique Chardonnay, Reflection Traminette, Destiny Vidal Blanc
Iron Heart Winery is located in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia; this winery embraces the true essence of spring and nature as it included a ton of expansive greenspace, gorgeous floral spaces, grapevines, and much more. A very large stream of natural water runs throughout the center of the property, which will allow you to enjoy a beautiful environment regardless of where you may happen to be on the property itself.
If you’re the type of individual that is interested in soaking up the natural beauty that a winery has to offer, this is the perfect location for you to visit. Iron Heart Winery produces many different wine selections, including Rose, Vidal Blanc, and many others.
Best Wines: Rose, Riesling, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc;
Chatham Vineyards is a vineyard located on the eastern shore of Virginia that is also home to the historic Chatham Farms. This vineyard property has been around for four centuries and includes an endless amount of plush real estate, natural spaces, and much more for you to experience when visiting.
Chatham Vineyards is actually the first winery to be established on the eastern shore of Virginia, which adds more historical value to the property overall. This vineyard overlooks Churn Creek and is oftentimes the home to many hosted events during the summer and spring months.
These events are often coordinated in conjunction with local oyster farmers in the area who provide the perfect balance of oysters and wine at the vineyard. You can also kayak through the waters of the bay by booking a Paddle Your Glass Off Tour with a company that goes by the name SouthEast Expeditions.
This expedition takes you through the waters of the bay back up to the Chatham Vineyards front-line so that you can get an entire view of the property from the water and land.
Chatham Vineyards also has a tasting room facility on its campus, which allows you to taste the various wine selections offered by the company before going back onto the vineyard property itself.
Best Wines: Chatham Vineyards Oak Chardonnay
Stone Tower Winery is located on Hogback Mountain which is in Northern Virginia, the winery sits atop a massive plot of 300-acre land and has a nice backdrop of a rolling mountain landscape which adds depth and character to the vineyard overall.
This particular winery has two separate tasting rooms on the property, which gives you multiple options to choose from in terms of the overall experience that you want to have while visiting. The first tasting room goes by the name Harvest Barn, and it is a family-friendly tasting room that has a rustic themed wood ceiling above the top level, and it also has six different tasting bars on the lower level of the facility.
The second tasting room is named the Tower View Tasting Room, and it is located adjacent to the barn. This tasting area can hold up to 21 occupants at a one-time maximum, and it also has leather couches in the space for added decoration.
The patio and inside viewing options are just the beginning of the total experience that you can have at the Stone Tower Winery thanks to the fact that you can also sit on the grounds and enjoy a picnic while the beautiful lush greenspace of the area surrounds you.
The Stone Tower Winery also gives you the ability to purchase add-ons for your wine tasting desires such as crackers, cheese, and many other snacks all from within the Tower View Tasting room.
Best Wines: Estate Chardonnay, Wild Boar Blanc de Blanc, Wild Boar Chardonnay
The Early Mountain Vineyards is combined with the Monticello Wine Trail, which is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This vineyard location includes an outdoor picnic location and an open patio area, which gives you more than one option to choose from as it relates to enjoying the various wine selections that you can choose from.
One of the best features of the Early Mountain Vineyards is that you will have the ability to choose from a variety of Early Mountain branded wine in addition to being able to choose from a collection of wines that are included on the “Best of Virginia” wine list that has a wide range of wine options all coming from award-wining Virginia wineries.
You can also choose from one of the many great-tasting meal options provided by the Vineyard by way of their own restaurant that is located on the grounds. Some of the menu items included in the vineyard’s restaurant options include pastrami on rice, charcuterie boards, and many others. The property also contains built-in fire pits, which allow you to enjoy the vineyard on cold winter nights with your loved one or significant other.
Best Wines: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Brut Sparkling Wine, Sample Early Mountain’s Rose
White Hall Vineyards is located at an approximate elevation of about 800 feet and has a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountain top, which adds an extra sense of depth to the overall scenery. White Hall Vineyards has a long history in the current area that it’s in due to the fact that it was established in 1992.
The White Hall Vineyards takes up a sprawling 48-acre plot of land, which provides more than enough space for you to explore and soak in a while adventuring to this locality.
White Hall Vineyards is able to produce high-quality wines on a consistent basis, largely due to the fact that the winery utilizes several different techniques and processes during the duration of all their wine options. If nature-oriented wineries are more of your thing, White Hall Vineyards is the perfect winery for you to visit.
Best Wine: 2016 Tre Leoni Red Blanc, 2016 Leonardini Vyd Cabernet Sauvignon
DelFosse Vineyards was created in 2000 and is located in the Monticello AVA wine regions, which makes it a very scenic winery to visit. One of the fascinating parts about the DelFosse Vineyards is that they are located at the optimal elevation for cultivating premium blends of wine that are enjoyed by drinkers from all over the globe.
You can participate in a wide range of different activities at the DelFosse Vineyards, this includes taking a tour of the property, taste the wide selection of their broad wine selection, or you can enjoy a nice picnic with your significant other by the lake that is on the property.
Another interesting thing to note about DelFosse Vineyards is that it is the only terraced vineyard in the state of Virginia.
Best Wine: 2016 Grand Cru Reserve, 2014 Petit Verdot
These are just some of the top wineries in Virginia that you can visit anytime you are in the mood for exploring what wine has to offer beyond the glass. Take the time to go through exactly what you expect and desire to experience at your selected winery so that you will be able to make an educated decision about which one is right for you.
What makes a good winery?
Before signing up for a specific winery tour, you need to consider all of the various elements and variables that the winery consists of to ensure that it will provide you with the experience you desire.
To help you make the right decision, we’re going to provide you with all of the core features and tour options that you need to pay attention to so that you can make the best decision about which winery is the optimal choice for your specific interests.
Make sure you read this entire following section so that you will be able to make an educated decision about which winery tour will provide you with the most entertaining and educational value.
Quality of Experience
One of the most important things to consider when choosing the right winery to visit is the overall quality of the experience that you’ll receive when visiting. Every winery offers a different level of depth as it relates to how much access they give visitors to the inner workings of their winemaking operation. It’s important for you to look at how the winery is set up and what features it offers in terms of tastings, rooms, and wines.
You should choose a winery based upon the type of event that you’ll be visiting the location for. For example, if you’re going to the winery for an anniversary, you may want to go with a winery option that has more rooms and wine-related activities.
If you’re simply visiting a winery for the reasons for learning more about the winemaking process and other informational purposes, there are wineries out there that cater more to this specific purpose.
In addition to the quality of the experience that the winery you choose provides, it’s important to consider the atmosphere and ambiance of the winery also because this is what you will be interacting with most when visiting.
Each winery will have a different ambiance and setting based upon its location and the type of wine that it produces. Lighting, decorations, theme, music, and more will play an important role in the main environment of the winery you select.
This is also a decision that you should make based on the event that you’re going to be participating in. In some instances, many wineries will also be able to make custom accommodations to cater to whatever type of occasion or event that you may be visiting a winery for.
If you are trying to find a nice winery location that offers you a view of nature, you should choose a winery that is located outdoors so that you can take in all of the beautiful scenery that will be available for you to view.
If you want something more personal and structured, you may want to go with an option that lends itself to an actual building with a cellar and other positive amenities.
There are a lot of different wineries in Virginia that offer you the ability to experience all of these qualities with ease due to the fact that most have their own winery in addition to their own vineyard. There are a lot of different ambiances and settings that you can experience when visiting a winery in Virginia; the final decision is ultimately up to what you would like to experience.
Every winery that you visit will offer a distinct set of specific service options, features, and other amenities that will enhance your overall experience. You can choose to participate in things such as self-doing winemaking, tasting, educational tours, and much more.
You want to do some in-depth research about what exact features and service options that your selected winery has so that you can make the best decision about which one you will enjoy the most while visiting.
The last thing that you want to do is spend money on a winery tour in a facility that doesn’t meet your standards. That’s why it’s important for you to read over the details of the particular winery that you’re interested in before booking any tour date.
Depending on the type of wine produced by the winery, you will be able to select from a wide range of different specialty viewing options, interactive activities, and more. Depending on the type of winery that you visit, the specialty features available to you will vary.
The specialty features that you will be able to select from will range from DIY winemaking to learning how to pick grapes. If you know that you want to participate in a specific activity while taking a tour of the winery you select, you should look for specific wineries that offer the type of specialty tour features you desire.
Can you bring in outside drinks to a winery?
Most wineries do not allow you to bring in outside drinks to their facility or property.
Is outside food allows in wineries?
Typically, outside food is only allowed if you visit a winery and set up a picnic, bringing outside food along with you on tour may not be permitted in all wineries.
Do winery tours cost?
Depending on the winery and occasion, yes, winery tours can cost.
Throughout this guide, we’ve gone over all of the most important information and tips that you need to know about how to choose the right winery for your next exploration, celebration, or any other event that you may be planning.
Before signing up for any winery tour, use this resource guide as a tool so that you can plan the perfect trip for whatever occasion you may be planning. Wineries offer you the ability to experience wine in a way like never have before, and for those serious wine enthusiasts, visiting one can be a real treat.
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