If you haven’t subscribed to Virginia Wine Lover Magazine, the holidays are a great time to sign up for this publication. It offers wine news, gift ideas, events and information about local wineries to share with your holiday guests.
According to Virginia Wine Lover , the results are in from the September poll asking readers to vote for their Favorite Virginia Winery Tasting Room. Some 3,000 responses accounted for the top 25 winners selected from Virginia’s 220 wineries with tasting rooms. Selections were made on the basis of Friendliness of Staff (39%), Attractiveness of Location (37%), Staff’s Knowledge of Wine (19%), Proximity (3%) and Price of Tasting (2%). Several of the wineries that are local to our Charlottesville area made the list.
Cooper Vineyards in Louisa County, midway between C-ville and Richmond, took top honors as favorite tasting room. Perfect! Planning our first trip there this weekend which also coincides with their Holiday Open House ( free tastings Sat. & Sun. 1-5). Many of you may already be familiar with Cooper Vineyards.They were selected for the Cooper staff friendliness, the architectural design of the tasting room and for their fine wines. Cooper Vineyards recently earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification( the highest standard) for excellence in “Green” building technology. They have one many awards already and their Noche dessert wine is extremely popular. Made with Norton grapes and infused with chocolate, Noche is a versatile wine. According to Cooper Vineyards, it has hints of black cherry and raspberry complement rich aromas of cocoa with a chocolate ganache finish. Great for sipping, drizzled as a chocolate sauce over ice cream or combined with nutella for a chocolate fondue. This wine is definitely on my shopping list for Thanksgiving. These recipes can be found on their website or on VWL’s site.
2nd place honors for best tasting room went to Early Mountain Vineyards. Agreed! This winery is a very popular spot, augmented with a most hospitable tasting room staff, offering select wines from the Commonwealth and an attention to detail to create a most enjoyable wine tasting experience. Located in southern Madison County, EMV has already established themselves as a TGIF spot and situated conveniently between NoVA and Charlottesville, a premier wine tasting destination. The event facility rivals Pippin Hill for country elegance and an exquisite wedding venue.
Prince Michel nabbed the 4th favorite tasting room for its Madison County location. Prince Michel was chosen as the exclusive winery to produce the official 250thanniversary commemorative wine for this year-long celebration. The two wines chosen to pay tribute to this historic occasion are Prince Michel’s award winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines are made from grapes grown in the Monticello appellation of Virginia. Embellished with the custom designed commemorative label, these wines will be available in over 200 locations around the area. They will also be available April 21 for tasting and purchase at the First Annual Monticello Wine Festival at the pavilion on Charlottesville’s downtown mall. Prince Michel also has a tasting room on Carter’s Mountain with beautiful vistas over Charlottesville extending down to Nelson County.
Barboursville Vineyards, Glass House Winery, Keswick Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and Pollak Vineyards made the top 20 tasting rooms in Virginia. Each winery is unique in its own right offering a little something different from the others. Barboursville for its history, longevity, and 5 star restaurant, Palladio, serving award-winning wines like Octagon and Nebbiolo. Glass House lends an atmosphere of the tropics with its glass conservatory and warm welcoming tasting room staff. Top that off with Michelle Sanders’ gourmet chocolates and you could wrap up Christmas gifts right there. Keswick Vineyards is a cozy tasting room in the heart of hunt country with a beautiful backdrop of historic plantations. With this many delightful wineries to choose from, it’s no wonder Charlottesville has become such a great weekend destination. I think you’ll need more than a couple of weekends to get a real taste of Thomas Jefferson’s wine country.
As a real estate agent, I’m finding more and more people choosing the Charlottesville area as their home. Parents who have adult children graduating from the University of Virginia are building homes here after becoming acquainted with all Central Virginia has to offer. The wine industry, education, the arts, temperate climate, health care and more are inspiring weekend visitors to purchase second homes within driving distance from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. If you’re interested in viewing homes for sale in the area, please call or email to schedule a visit. We’d love to welcome you to Charlottesville!