A few weeks ago we spent some time along the Monticello Wine Trail in Central Virginia (around Charlottesville). Those of you who follow our blog know that the Central Virginia/Charlottesville wine region is a favorite destination of ours. For those who may not be as familiar with us, allow us to tell you why in the most efficient way possible… the Central VA/ Charlottesville area is awesome. It has mountains, rivers, lakes, hiking, biking, country roads, food, craft wine, craft beer, craft coffee and not to mention, some pretty friendly people around town. If you have not visited this area you NEED to start planning a trip today!
Our latest trip brought us to a few new wineries (to us)! Our first stop was at Stinson Vineyards in Crozet, just west of Charlottesville. We won’t go into too much detail about Stinson (because we are saving them for a special Virginia Wine feature series we’re running in the Fall!), but we will say that they are quickly growing and becoming known for their amazing wines–props to Rachel and Scott Stinson on their fearlessness and creativity in winemaking, incorporating some unique varietals into more traditional Virginia wines! We loved the rustic yet modern tasting room, the beautiful view of the vineyards and mountains, and the super-friendly and knowledgable customer service we received during our tasting. This is a must-stop on your next trip to Central Virginia. One last piece of advice, grab yourself a bottle of their Rosé and Chardonnay– you won’t regret it!
Tune in for our upcoming Virginia Wine “Taste of Terroir” series this Fall, highlighting the people and the wines of Stinson Vineyards.
Another appeal of the Monticello Wine Trail is the convenience factor–winery after winery along the trail! Right down the road from Stinson was another winery and tasting room we hadn’t yet visited (hard to believe, we know)– Grace Estate Winery. Grace Estate Winery is situated in the heart of Central Virginia terroir– with 62 acres of vines and 14 different varietals grown on property, they offer a wide range of estate whites and reds for all palates. The relatively new tasting room is beautiful– open and bright and filled with natural light. It has elegant, yet rustic features, with a touch of country– think fresh cut flowers as centerpieces bringing a pop of color to entire tasting room. Outside there is a large deck overlooking the beautiful vineyard and a gorgeous mountain view that the property provides. It felt like the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon in the country– in fact, while we were visiting a few cyclists rode in off the winding country roads to enjoy a glass of wine and the view before heading back on their journey. Sign us up for that.
As previously mentioned, all of Grace Estate’s wines are sourced from fruit grown on property, which is somewhat rare in the current climate of Virginia with grape shortages occurring around the state. Saddling up to the tasting bar, our wine educator welcomed us and gave us a little history of the winery. She was incredibly knowledgeable about the wine being produced at Grace Estate and we enjoyed talking with her about our favorite Charlottesville pastimes! We opted for the classic tasting of 3 whites and 3 reds, although an all-white and all-red tasting is offered here. We thoroughly enjoyed most of the wines, but the Chardonnay and the Petit Verdot (blackberry, jammy, leather and tobacco qualities) stood out above the rest.
Following the tasting we purchased a bottle of the 2013 Petit Verdot and packed up. Although we couldn’t hang around after our tasting, we are excited to visit again soon and enjoy more of what Grace Estate Winery has to offer.
Every time we visit the Central Virginia wine region we leave feeling refreshed and excited. This trip was no different, and it was a pleasure getting to try a few new destinations along the Monticello Wine Trail!
-Amy & Alli
Side Note: from the DC/ Northern Virginia area it is a super fun and easy trip to get to the Central VA/Charlottesville area. Hop in your car and head straight down route 29. Seriously…that’s all you have to do. You’ll even pass wineries directly on route 29 so you can break up the short 2 hour trip! Stay tuned for an upcoming post on Early Mountain Vineyards— the perfect place to stop for a glass and lunch on the drive!