Saying best Virginia wineries is almost redundant. Because every winery we visited on the Monticello Wine Trail blew us away. However, there were four in particular that had us wishing we could stay forever.
A quick caveat before we start – These wineries aren’t next to one another. While they’re part of the same Monticello American Viticulture Area (AVA), we don’t recommend hopping between them in one day. In fact, you could easily spend a day at each of these. So make sure to plan enough time to enjoy all that Virginia wine!
Veritas Vineyards & Winery: The Truth is in the Wine
When you arrive, you’ll pass rolling hills and vineyards that give you the genuine wine country feel. Nestled further back on the property is the expansive tasting room. The ambiance invites you in, complete with comfy couches, a fireplace, and a massive LOVE sign made from recycled corks. Veritas also boasts an outdoor patio where you can snack on cheese and charcuterie while enjoying beautiful views of the vineyards.
We were fortunate enough to meet with winemaker Emily Pelton. She is awesome! And a big reason why this is one of the best Virginia wineries we visited. Her parents opened Veritas in 1999 after deciding to follow their passion for wine. Not long after, Emily caught the bug and made wine her passion too. And that shines through.
Talking to Emily taught us so much about what makes Virginia wine special. From Viognier, the state grape of Virginia, to the Cabernet Franc that permeates the area, Veritas is perfecting what makes grape-growing in the region so top-notch. And Emily’s passion for what she does is intoxicating! I walked away saying “I want to make wine just like her!”
Except I can’t. Because what Emily does at Veritas is both a science and an art. Discussions of grape varietals, structure, soil, and humidity were textbook winemaking. Infusions of barrel selection, blending, and aromas demonstrated the creativity of her craft. She is an artist.
While every single piece of art we sampled was divine, the Petit Verdot was the masterpiece. As Doug from the tasting room described, it feels like silk in a glass. And it tastes even better! In fact, the Veritas Petit Verdot is so good, it won the 2017 Governor’s Cup Case for top-notch Virginia wine.
If you visit Veritas, sampling the Petit Verdot is a must! You can also do a tasting for $10 to sample a variety. Then buy a glass or bottle of your favorite to enjoy out on the patio. It will show you first hand why this is one of the best Virginia wineries.
In vino veritas!
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards: A Well-Manicured Affair
My notes from Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards simply said this: Quintessential winery experience. Meaning, this is exactly what you think of when you envision wine tasting for the day.
The vineyards are gorgeous and sprawling. The buildings and décor are farmhouse-chic. The grounds are impeccably manicured. Flowering bushes line the pathway. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream.
The significance of the foliage and on-site garden is clear. So clear, in fact, that Pippin Hill’s Horticulturist plays a crucial role in the daily operation. We didn’t have a chance to meet her, but we saw her three times. I’d almost convinced myself she owned the place. She even asked if we were having a good time when we walked by her. It made the experience all the more inviting.
And we were having a good time! But, we weren’t the only ones. We saw bus tours, bridal showers, couples, and families among various others that day. It was a place you could drop in for a quick glass of amazing Virginia wine, or a place you could relax in for hours.
And the onsite restaurant is the perfect place to pair the wine with garden-to-table cuisine. The food is local and seasonal, so it’s super fresh. Each item has a recommended wine or two listed below it for the optimal taste bud indulgence.
Visit Pippin Hill
If you visit Pippin Hill, be sure to block off a substantial part of your day. We recommend a tasting, ranging from $10-$13 per flight. Lunch is a great option too, as is sitting out on the covered patio with a glass or a bottle to enjoy the sprawling landscape. Saturdays are extremely busy, so try to visit on a different day or plan an early arrival. You can’t visit a place notoriously known as one of the best Virginia wineries and expect it to be empty!
Blenheim Vineyards: A Sustainable Experience
Disclaimer: We are shameless Dave Matthews fans. Dave Matthews owns this winery. Therefore, we are shameless fans of this winery.
But, hear us out! Everywhere we went people mentioned Blenheim Vineyards. Even locals know it’s one of the best Virginia wineries! And that’s clear as soon as you walk on property. Aside from the slimmest possibility of running into Dave (even the staff has their almost-met-Dave stories), this winery has so much to offer.
First, the wine is great. Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, to name a few. You can do a tasting for $7, sip by the glass, buy a bottle, or even fill a growler!
Second, the grounds are spectacular. Think of them as rustic charm. You can spend your time at the covered seating area outside, or you can venture inside to the caramel-colored tasting room designed by Dave himself. With wood-planked walls and ceilings sourced from an old barn, you’ll feel the warmth as soon as you walk through the door.
Dave designed the whole place with sustainability in mind. The building is set into the side of a hill to help with temperature control. And the gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows in the tasting room provide ample natural light during the day.
Lastly, it’s fun! Everyone there is friendly and inviting. We had a tasting with Deb, who helped school us on Virginia wine and give us facts about the place. She also showed us the four bottles that feature Dave’s artwork. Every year, he designs new labels for the red and white blends – appropriately named Painted Red and Painted White.
If you visit Blenheim, consider buying a bottle to drink at the outdoor seating area. It’s a perfect place to enjoy the view of the vineyard. And it’s easy, since all bottles have screw caps for sustainability! You can even grab a bite at the local food truck parked on site to help round out the experience.
As Dave Matthews says, “Eat, drink and be merry!”
Barboursville Vineyards: Where Food & Wine Reign
It’s hard to decide where to start when explaining what makes Barboursville Vineyards so unique. I typically start with appearance to help set the stage. But for this one, I need to start with flavor.
Everything we tasted was divine. From crisp Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier to still light but bolder Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Octagon is their signature red blend with a story as rich as its flavor.
And speaking of flavor, the food at the on-site restaurant, Palladio, is world-renowned. It was recently named one of the Best Vineyard Restaurants in America by Food & Wine. Fitting, for one the best Virginia wineries! We took one for the team and tested it out for four courses of wine-food pairings.
Set in a small dining room with historic charm, the experience is intimate and elevated. The price tag is hefty, and it feels fancy, so consider your budget and your attire before you visit. But if you do, be sure to start with the Caprese salad if available. As simple as that sounds, the fresh basil from the grounds was out of this world.
And Palladio isn’t the only place on site to pair food and wine. You can also enjoy cheese and charcuterie at Library 1821. It’s more casual than Palladio but more intimate than the tasting room. Library is open Fridays-Sundays and offers pairings of selected vintages with food, starting at $25. Or, you can opt for a more casual sipping experience by doing a traditional tasting for $7.
Best Virginia Wineries We Didn’t Visit
We couldn’t visit all the wineries in Virginia. But the next time we visit here’s what we’d like to try:
King Family Vineyards is notoriously known as one of the best wineries in Virginia. The only reason we didn’t make it there was the geography of our pre-determined route. If we had an extra day, we would’ve visited. And on our next trip, we’ll certainly make a stop.
Flying Fox Vineyard is owned and operated by Emily Pelton of Veritas and her siblings. It’s a small winery with big potential as the winemaker and her family look to be more provocative and experimental in their craft. Mixing up the Virginia wine game like a sly fox!
Breaux Vineyards is the only Virginia winery on this list NOT located in the Monticello AVA. That’s partly because we don’t know any better and partly because the Monticello AVA is just so expansive. However, Breaux boasts something that the others cannot – it’s only an hour drive from the Washington DC area.
We think it’s safe to say regardless of where you go in Virginia, you’ll fall in love with the wine and the experience.
Which of these wineries sounds like somewhere you’d enjoy? Or, if you’re lucky enough to have visited Virginia wineries, which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
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We can’t thank Virginia.org enough for their support during our stay. They helped with accommodations, meals, and itinerary-planning for our four-day visit. But as always, our reviews are honest and genuine. We do not guarantee a positive review in return for assistance.
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