Virginia is not likely to be a place you would associate with wine. But, we have some information that might shock you. There are over 300 wineries in the state! Quite literally, this is known as one of the best, but least known areas for wine in the states. One to rival California’s Napa Valley. This is where you will find the quieter wineries, beautiful landscapes (that never catch fire), and sumptuous mountain views. Plus, the airport at Charlottesville is practically hassle free!
Yes, if you are looking for wineries, look no further than the surrounding areas near Charlottesville VA! Yet, with over 300 to choose from, which ones do you pick to enliven your trip? We have hand-picked the 11 best wineries near Charlottesville VA for your delectation. And delectable they are!
Join us as we sample the delights, highlighting the best wineries for family, friends, and romantic getaways. Plus, which of those wines you absolutely must try, and plenty more! Sit, sample, and stay at some of the finest wineries you will ever see. But first, when should you visit?
Wineries Near Charlottesville: When to Visit?
Whilst the humidity in the summer months can be hard to handle, this is exactly what makes it a great location for growing almost any grape varietal. And this is just one reason you will find so many fine Viognier wines! Alongside Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and the American ambrosia Chardonnay. Here you will also find a playful spirit in their Chardonnays, frequently with a less oaky finish.
But, don’t be fooled by the humidity; it can also get very cold in winter too! So when it comes to touring wineries near Charlottesville, VA, you need to factor this in. Unlike popular routes through Sonoma and Napa Valley, there are actual seasons to be mindful of!
Summers can be hot and muggy, with average temperatures reaching 79°F (26°C) between mid May and mid September. For a more comfortable trip, it’s best to go in June and between early August to early October, when average temperatures are around 70°F (21°C). It is also noticeably clearer in the skies with fewer clouds and many more sunny days. Between November and March it gets very cold, so best to avoid this period. Spring is also a great time of year to visit, as the temperatures fall between a cool and refreshing 50 to 60°F (10-15°C). However, there are many more overcast days.
To ensure you have a great time, it is vital to know what type of weather you will enjoy, and book accordingly.
Best Wineries and Vineyards near Charlottesville, VA
Many of the wineries you will see here follow the path of the Monticello wine trail. This is a group of 3 wineries that are inspired by the Thomas Jefferson’s vision of wine-making in America. Yes, this area is great for wine lovers who also love a good view, but adore a bit of history. The Charlottesville area is bristling with historic sites from the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Charlottesville’s wineries often have a little bit of that history bound up in their walls, and vines too!
Aside from this, you will have pet-friendly properties, and you often don’t have to book ahead for wine tastings unless you are in large groups. Lots of wineries and vineyards are pet-friendly, and all within a stones throw of the city of Charlottesville. So, you can pitch up in one hotel while you explore the surrounding vineyards, or move on every day to sample the very best inns and cottages in Virginia. And when you aren’t visiting the wineries, there are a host of things to do in the city, along with hikes and beauty spots to visit as well. Whatever you choose, you are sure to be spellbound!
Named after the own, Aka ‘father’ of Virginia wine country, who is dedicated to bringing European style wines to American soil. Rausse was one of the first winemakers in Barboursville, and the site doesn’t actually have a vineyard attached. The forest setting is also very different to that of other wineries in the area. These factors, plus the laid back youthful atmosphere, set winery apart from the rest.
Visiting this spot can be a little tricky as there is no sign on the roadside to indicate the turning. So, a decent sat nav and an eagle eye will be rewarded! The building itself has more of a hipster feel, made predominantly from glass, cement and a few wooden beams for structure. It is pleasingly minimalist, perfect for an impromptu catch up with some friends, or for making some new ones!
Guests arriving before 1pm can take part in a wine tasting with food pairings, all locally sourced and prepared on site. If you are a little later in arriving, you will still be able to take advantage of their delicious homemade sour dough, with olive oil to dip! No one can ever say no to that!
Wines to Sample
Take advantage of the stellar European style wines that have been perfected here over many years. A special mention goes to the Grüner Veltliner, a wine made from a varietal of the same name. Native mainly to Austria and the Czech Republic, it resultant wines have been known to rival the best Chardonnays in Austria. Also the Vin Gris de Pinot Noir, a beautiful, delicate white made using pinot noir varietal, usually reserved for red wines. This is a notoriously difficult grape to grow, making the product highly sought after once you have a taste for it.
Just 20 minutes outside of Charlottesville, this charming winery really gives you a 360 degree Virginia feel. The wines are fantastic, and their sustainable ethos is super inspiring. Closed Mondays, but open the rest of the week, a tour of the wineries near charlottesville, VA is not complete without this one!
Charles Shaps, an award winning mover, shaker and innovator in the Virginia winemaking business, heads their wine program. So, there is something special about pretty much every winer. There is an in-house Horticulturalist available to take you on a tour of the grounds, farm and vineyard. It is so interesting to learn about just how much every tiny detail has been thought out. Truly this is a labour of love!
The owners have a real interest in local and sustainable produce. Such that the ‘farm to table’ aspect of the experience is beautifully crafted. As much as is possible, most items you will find on their menu were grown on site. And the food itself is likely to have you coming back for more. In fact, you might need to factor this winery in on a couple of days! You can stop in for their ‘Flights and Bites’ option: wine tasting with special food pairings. Or, you can sample the wines and head straight to the bistro for something more substantial.
And thats not all! The bistro/bar has been designed with Virginia in mind, with beautiful barn aesthetic rendered with an upmarket feel. Sit a while on the gorgeous veranda, and take a stroll as you eye up that view of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Wines to Sample
Try the delicate yet zingy Sparkling Rose, refreshing with tart fruit and citrus notes on the palate. Or, the balance of fresh fruit and spices that encapsulates the Viognier. The Wild Common red is also a standout favourite, mixing earthy tones with dark berries and the hint of a dry finish.
Where Thomas Jefferson and Philip Mazzei, an Italian viticulturist, planted European vines in 1773, with the express intention of selling the wines produced. In fact, this has come to be known as the “birthplace of American wine” [Jefferson Vineyards Website]
Today, three generations of winemakers have put so much care and attention into what they do. The Woodward family have been heading up the winery for nearly 40 years! And they have been granted a number of awards for their efforts. Fun fact, this winery also has ties with the Rausse family. In 1981 the Woodward’s vineyard was re-planted under the guidance of Mr Gabriele Rausse himself! This is certainly one of the wineries near Charlottesville, VA to visit if you like a bit of history with your delicately-crafted wine.
The whole estate certainly has that colonial-times feel, updated for the modern era. The vineyards are well manicured, and wonderful to walk around, overlooked by a whitewashed house with red roof bearing a cross. The tasting room is small but beautifully turned out, and walk-ins are accepted. As with most wineries in the area. It is also pet-friendly, if you have any discerning animals you would like to bring with you!
Wines to Sample
The best thing about the wine makers within the piedmont region is their dedication to certain wines. Another great place to try the Viognier varietal, with bright notes of fruit and a well balanced acidity. This one has garnered awards. Chardonnay’s which subtly employ that oak flavour you might have become used to. This is more of a soft buttery wine, with a dry finish. What might also be considered the flagship red is the Meritage, a blend made up of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Bordeaux. Its bold and fruity, with a well rounded finish.
The tasting includes 8 wines, and includes a souvenir glass! Many of the bottles for sale in the shop will have Thomas Jefferson’s signature on the label, which could also make a great souvenir or gift for family and friends.
A 25 minute drive northwest of Charlottesville, VA sits Stinson Vineyard. The whole area is set against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains, with beautiful wooden buildings of creamy yellows offset the lush greenery surrounding them. This is a more boutique style winery, featuring an array of small batched wines. The family feel is authentically brought about by the father and daughter who own the vineyard. So hands on are they that sometimes they can sometimes be seen behind the bar handling tastings for small audiences.
The wines created at Stinson are French-inspired, utilising old techniques to bring you beautifully crafted wines from the annals of European history. Their tasting room is indeed inspired by the makers of Garagiste wines, honed in the traditional style of Bordeaux reds. And this is where they draw inspiration for their other creations, including sur lie ageing in their white wine batches also.
This is truly a breathtaking place to visit, and if you love it, you could even choose to stay! The Inn at Stinson Vineyards is a delightful boutique hotel with assorted room types, gorgeous view, a pool, and a delicious cooked breakfast available each day for guests. And, if you stay at the Inn, your wine tasting is free of charge!
Wines to Sample
The Stinson family Petit Manseng is notable for its sweeter finish, well balanced with the sharpness of the varietal. Their Chardonnay is also to be noted for its departure from the oak finish we are so used to. It has sweet, tangy notes with creamy undertones of toasted nuts, delightfully robust on the tongue! For a wine base with a difference, Imperials is an interesting french style port aged in oak that will leave you feeling serene and satisfied!
Now for something a little different, as at Mount Ida they also have craft brews alongside their wines! Their tasting room and tap house is great for larger groups of friends and families as there really is something for everyone. This includes a range of beers, ales, a stout—and fresh this year—a hard seltzer! In three different flavours. If you are formulating an itinerary in your mind of wineries near and around Charlottesville VA, make sure this stop is added! Wine tastings have the option to come with a full food pairing menu, from sharing plates and snacks to larger meals. The options are always delicious, and locally sourced from their farm and the surrounding areas.
If you have time, schedule a night in to stay at the Lodge at Mount Ida Farm. And, if you really love it, they host weddings and special events as well! No doubt you will adore it, as the farm is situated within green sweeping lawns, and a gorgeous building that feels like a homestead. It truly is like walking into a family home—large, welcoming and full of charm!
Whilst the wineries in this region have stupendous views generally, the large sweeping vistas this winery affords will knock you off your feet. Especially on a clear late-summers day, when the blue sky meets the blue-grey of the mountains and the lush green lawns and vineyards. Whilst it is not technically on the Monticello wine trail, it is certainly one to factor in.
Wines to Sample
The High Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon is particularly lovely, with a smokey sweetness playing amidst a spicy undertone of peppercorns. The Viognier is delicately balanced, with citrus showing through the fruity sweetness.
One of the larger wineries near Charlottesville in the VA region, and situated as it is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, this can get busy in late summer. It is also one of the most instagram worthy locations, with a large tasting room and beautifully decorated bar. The overall look and feel is one of modern history, all dark wood with rich copper accents.
Guests can take advantage of the Showcase Cellar Tour, with wine tasting, and even enjoy a full menu and wine pairing if they choose! Anything from small bites and sharing plates to larger meals can be conjured, all a take on the surrounding area and locally sourced produce. Alternatively, go for the wine tasting, and when you are finished, take a stroll on the lawns before having lunch on the sweeping terrace, or dinner at the Farmhouse restaurant. The vineyard’s location on a hill overlooking the surrounding areas gives it beautiful 360 degree views. You could even request a special picnic lunch with a paired bottle of wine.
As with many of the wineries in the region, you can choose to stay a night or two! Accommodation at the Farmhouse is a mixture of colonial style with modern flair, and very much in keeping with the aesthetic of the area.
Wines to Sample
If you only try two wines, let those be the Petit Verdot, and the Cabernet Franc. Both are robust with notes of dark fruits, with the former creating earthy tones on the palate. There is also another fabulous Viognier served at this winery, full of the gentle sweetness of melon with a citrus finish and light floral aroma.
Of all the wineries near charlottesville VA, this is the one with the most extensive selection of wines made on site. The tale of this winery begins in 1976, and a winemaker named Gianni Zonin. The Italian borne artiste wanted to bring European viticulture to American shores. Today, the tasting menu covers 20 wines: all are available to sample!
Further historical links along the Monticello wine trail can be found here, as this is the original estate of James Barbour. This was the Governor of the War of 1812, whose mansion was a gift from Thomas Jefferson himself. And it is because of this esteemed man that the area got its name, Barboursville! The ruins of this house can still be visited on the grounds today.
The set-up of the new estate building is very much like a stately home, with a couple of different locations you can embark on wine tastings. The Tuscan Tasting Room, or the Library 1821, and these reflect the different ranges of their extensive wine list. The Library holds a selection of their finer vintage wines, paired with light bites paired especially. The Tuscan holds the more extensive collection of wines, and both are guided by knowledgeable staff. You could also take a guided tour of the winery, or simply stroll through the magnificent grounds before stopping by in the Palladio restaurant for dinner and a glass more of your favourite wine!
Guests can also stay the night in one of the six fabulous cottages nestled in the estate. This is a proper Virginia country getaway.
Wines to Sample
Their signature bottle is a Bordeaux blend named Octagon, with notes of dark rich cherry alongside roasted coffee and subtle notes of dark chocolate. The Fiano Reserve is also worth seeking out, with a zesty yet floral aroma, and a dry finish on the tongue.
Al and Cindy Schornberg established this vineyard back in 2001, inspired by Al’s grandfather and his wine-making tales from back in France. They tend to favour natural yeast, leaving their wines to ferment and mature on their own. And you will also find that their reds are unfiltered, so may have some sediment at the bottom of the glass. But this all just speaks to their au naturel approach that respects centuries of French winemaking.
Like many of the Monticello wine trail vineyards, the site near Castle hill has historical ties to Revolutionary and Civil Wars. However, it is the quaint and casual setting of the winery that makes it so popular. Snacks can be supplied with tastings, though guests are also welcome to pack a picnic to bring along, and pets are welcome in the outdoor seating areas and porch. Live events with music and comedy are often put on, with the addition of a local food truck set-up, serving local fare to hungry wine-lovers!
The Edgewood Estate itself has a wonderful feel, with a beautiful whitewashed plantation-style house out front completing those picture postcard views. The Keswick Vineyard is even available for weddings, and the photos more than do the set-up justice!
Wines to Sample
In 2019 the Keswick Vineyard won 12 awards for a bevy of their wines, showing just how well respected they are on the American wine scene. Their Amélie Viognier is a wonderful addition to a dusky evening with friends, with notes of exotic fruits and marzipan peeking through a drier floral finish. The Amelie Rosé sparkling is also a real crowd pleaser, with a sour cherry and citrus taste on the tongue.
If you are looking for something a little richer, the Trevellian red is wonderful for its hints of bitter chocolate and dark, plummy overtones. They even sell a red wine infused chocolate sauce in their store. Yum!
Near Charlottesville VA, 30 minutes northeast, lies one of the few wineries that will enchant you with its European look and feel. The Horton Vineyards in Gordonsville has a facade to match a french-style country side castle. The buttery yellow stone, red roof and wooden door are beautifully matched to the lush vineyards and hills stretching beyond. Inside, a sign hangs over the open fireplace that reads ‘God, Country, Notre Dame’.
The owner of the winery, Dennis Horton, has informed his creations through travels in France, where he hand-picked varietals grown on the estate today. Amidst them are Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Marsanne and Viognier. The tastings are incredibly generous, with guests able to choose 10 wines to sample from their cellars.
Wines to Sample
Barrell select Mourvedre, and Norton (flagship). The Suil Sparkling Viognier is also a lovely departure from the beautiful but standard offerings in the region. So called because ‘suil’ means hope in french, and Mr Horton always referred to the Viognier grape as Virginia’s hope.
This is apt to be one of the best tasting rooms in Virginia, and a restaurant to die for. With the decor of a well-heeled Arizona ranch, all muted colours and wood accents, you will feel blissed out in unassuming luxury. The restaurant’s full menu takes inspiration from seasonal produce, overseen by chef Tim Moore who has prior experience in a Michelin restaurant. And most ingredients are sourced from local farms, giving you that farm to table experience of Virginia.
The whole winery has a fun atmosphere, with seasonal events hosted every year between spring and autumn. Fridays they showcase local musicians with live music in that tasting room, and they even hold the annual Oyster Festival in March! The courtyard is pet-friendly, so this is a fantastic place to take on a wine tasting before tucking into some local fare as you bask in the late-summer sun. All with your furry friend!
The cottage in the grounds is available to rent for a weekend, if you are feeling like a romantic getaway. And, if you fall in love with the venue (which you are sure to), they also cater for weddings and private events! For wineries near Charlottesville VA that have plenty of space for big groups, this is one for you!
Wines to Sample
These guys do an award winning Petit Manseng, with a rich and tropical nose, a balanced acidity cutting through and a dry finish. As tender as it is fleeting! The Eluvium Merlot is also beautiful, with woody aromas mingling with dark fruits and plummy undertones. This is a glass to sip on a cooler evening for sure.
The King Family Vineyards sits just 15 minutes from Charlottesville, in the foothills of the Blue ridge Mountains. As the name would suggest, this family run business combines a number of their family passions, which we will come to later! But mainly, their passion for wine and home-comforts come through! Guests can opt for a regular tasting of 5 seasonal wines, or book in for the private guided tasting in the Library room. It is wise to ensure this winery is on your list, USA Today voted their winery tour the best in America in 2019!
Yes, the place screams home luxury, with masses of space for large groups of guests, a patio and large but cosy Pavilion room. Here the open fire and boardgames will have you in a heaven of wine, healthy competition and catch ups with friends. And last but not least, this winery has the special addition of a Polo field in the grounds. Best time to visit here is during the season (around late spring to the end of summer) to catch a Polo match whilst you sip on your seasonal wines. The sheer beauty of the setting, with those open skies, lush hills and views of the mountains will keep you reminiscing for years to come!
Fans of this estate can also book for weddings and special events, with the Carriage House being the most welcoming and sophisticated room to ever seat 200 people!
Wines to Sample
Try the aptly named Crosé, a combination of that signature blush and the name of the town from whence it came! This is a fruity blend with a dry finish, and perfect for those warm summer days on the lawn. Their Flagship Meritage is always spellbinding, with a mix of heady spiced cloves, jammy baked fruits and a tart herbaceous finish.
Best Wineries and Vinyards for Couples? Romantic Escapes
Near charlottesville VA, you will find many wineries which have a hotel attached. But few have the romantic escape of a cottage within the grounds of the estate and so close to the vineyard itself. At the Barboursville Vineyards you can visit one of two tasting rooms, tour the cellars, have a sumptuous meal in the European inspired Palladio restaurant; then buy a bottle and watch the sun go down on the porch of your very own cottage escape. In the morning, you can dine alfresco before you head off for a days activities in the area. Perhaps stay an extra day to trial the wines in the second tasting room. Perfect!
Best Wineries and Vinyards to Visit with Friends
For a good time catching up with friends in large groups, think Keswick Vineyards, Pippin Hill Farm, and King Family Vineyards. Drive in convoy to visit these fantastic wineries near Charlottesville VA, and soak up the atmospheric settings. Visiting at the tail end of summer will give you the ability to take in a Polo match at the King Family Vineyard, and the picturesque beauty of the Keswick Vineyards. Schedule a stop at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard for a gorgeous meal, or a wine tasting with food pairing! This is certain to be a whirlwind tour with friends or larger family groups that no-one will ever forget!
Wineries Near Charlottesville VA: Which is your Winner?
So there you have it. Hopefully by now you are as spellbound as we are by the wine trails of Virginia? Whether you love the quietude of small family run operations, or larger fun-fuelled wineries with music, comedy, sports and parties, there is something that will suit you. Even the weather will suit all tastes, dependent on when you go!
If you have enjoyed touring the Monitcello Wine Trail with us, why not share this with a fellow wine lover, and start planning your getaway today! 2021 could be the year Virginia stole your heart. And perhaps your liver…drink responsibly!