**This post was updated on 3/22/21
Maybe I’m a bit biased because I’m a native, but I think Virginia produces some of the best wine in the country. Did you know that there are over 230 Virginia wineries? We take our wine production pretty seriously over here!
Anytime is a good time to go wine tasting in Virginia. I love going in the winter because it’s a lot quieter, it’s always fun to go in the spring when the temps warm-up, and cooling off with a glass of rosé in the summer is unbeatable. However, the month of October is Virginia Wine Month, and IMO I think it is one of the best times to plan a winery trip in our great state. Towards the end of the month, you’ll get stunning fall foliage views, and you can also try all of the incredible restaurants that our state has to offer as well!
If you’re looking to visit Virginia for wine tasting, first, you’ll need to decide which wine region you want to visit. I personally love the Monticello AVA, as it’s home to most of my favorite wineries in Virginia. Stay in Charlottesville, charter transportation out to the wineries during the day, and enjoy incredible dining and nightlife in town at night.
Another great option? If you’re headed to D.C., the Middleburg AVA is only an hour outside of the city – so I’d plan on making a day trip! As always, I would recommend getting car service out to this region. The roads are very narrow and windy, and it’s hard to get a phone signal while out at these wineries, so don’t rely on Uber/Lyft or GPS.
Which wineries are my personal favorites? Here are ten wineries in Virginia that you need to visit!
10 Virginia Wineries
1. Stinson Vineyards (Monticello AVA)
Stinson Vineyards is a family-run vineyard that’s only minutes away from downtown Crozet, VA. Every time I’m in town, I always make a point to visit Stinson: the staff makes me feel like family, and they’re all incredibly knowledgeable, and I’m a huge fan of their distinct French influence. They produce one of my favorite rosé’s on the planet – and we always make sure to stock up on them before they sell out!
2. Gabriele Rausse Winery (Monticello AVA)
Hands down, this is my absolute favorite tasting room experience in all of Charlottesville. What I love most about Gabriele Rausse is how innovative they are. They offer some of the most unique varietals in the area, and everything is reasonably priced. Their tasting room is a local favorite, is hip and secluded, and to be perfectly honest: I want to keep this little gem to myself! However, as a travel blogger, it’s my job to share all of the incredible wineries in Virginia with you, right? They offer food and wine pairings until 1 PM, and they’re constantly switching up their menu. Heads up: they are not open on Saturdays, so make sure to stop in either on a Thursday, Friday, or Sunday.
3. Afton Mountain Vineyards (Monticello AVA)
We loved Afton so much that we decided to get a wine club membership here. As soon as I stepped foot on their property, I fell in love: the views are spectacular, the tasting room is cozy and full of charm, and I have to respect that they’ve been producing wine since the late ’70s. I also love that you can purchase varietals here that you don’t see very often in the state of Virginia: including Gewürztraminer and Albariño.
4. Early Mountain Vineyards (Close to the Monticello AVA)
About 30 miles north of Charlottesville is Early Mountain Vineyards, which has easily one of the most picturesque tasting rooms in the entire state. Their wine is incredible, and I also love that their associate winemaker, Maya Hood, is never afraid to release some innovative, experimental wines as well. Early Mountain also has an incredible restaurant on-site that serves elevated dishes, and I love going to their Oyster Festival each year. They also partner with other Virginia wineries and serve tasting flights with wines from all over the state. I love that they value community over competition!
5. Williamsburg Winery (Hampton Roads)
Williamsburg is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state, and I was rather impressed with their winery when I visited a few years ago. Since the winery sits on flat land and is close to the ocean, they’re a bit limited on what varietals can grow. However, they really knock it out of the park with their Petit Verdot and Rosé. They have a sister vineyard in Argentina, so definitely try their Malbec – it is beyond.
6. Muse Vineyards (Shenandoah Valley AVA)
It’s a bit of a hike to get to this tasting room, but it is 100% worth it. Muse Vineyards produces award-winning estate wines that have been recognized in both regional and international wine competitions. The tasting room staff was amicable and knowledgeable, and several other wineries in Virginia purchase their grapes from their vineyards, which speaks volumes about the quality of their wines.
7. Delaplane Cellars (Middleburg AVA)
Delaplane Cellars is one of two black-owned wineries in the state of Virginia, and I’ve wanted to visit for a while now. I attended a wine dinner they hosted at the Salamander Resort in February and fell in love with the wine. A week later, we were at their tasting room and had the opportunity to try most of the wines they had to offer, and it did not disappoint!
For starters, their tasting room is gorgeous. It sits atop of a mountain, and they’ve recently expanded their outdoor seating area so you can soak up incredible views here. The wine was exquisite; I was a big fan of the Petit Manseng and the Tannat.
8. Slater Run Vineyards (Middleburg AVA)
If you like French wine, this is the perfect winery for you! Slater Run specializes in making premium wines in a dry, French-style. Their Bordeaux-style blends are heavenly and award-winning and are a must-try. Not to mention, the tasting room staff was super friendly, knowledgeable and made us feel like we were at home. I absolutely love this winery, and I can’t wait to revisit once COVID restrictions ease up and they can host more events in the future!
9. Walsh Family Winery (Middleburg AVA)
I hate to play favorites, but this winery is my go-to in the area if you’re wine tasting in Loudoun County. Once we move to the West Coast, I will 100% be joining their wine club to get my fix!
This family-owned boutique winery produces premium wine that’s pretty reasonably priced for the area. I find that bottle prices in Northern Virginia are more inflated than the rest of the state, so this winery is a breath of fresh air in the AVA. Their Tannat/Petit Verdot blend is easily in my top five favorite Virginia wines, and their tasting room is super charming!
10. The Wine Reserve at Waterford (Middleburg AVA)
The folks at the Wine Reserve at Waterford crafted one of the most memorable tasting room experiences I ever had, and I honestly cannot wait for my next visit!
For my birthday, I made a reservation, put my name down, my party size, and called it a day. The hospitality here is next level: they looked me up, found out I was celebrating a belated birthday celebration with friends and greeted us with sparkling wine, and even made mocktails for the two people in my party who didn’t drink alcohol. I was blown away at the service here — I don’t think I’ve ever been to a winery that had such friendly, accommodating staff!
As far as the wine goes — we loved them! They have a really fun test tube flight and were able to taste 10 different wines. If you’re wine tasting with a group, this is perfect because they truly have a wine for everyone in your party!
Honorary Mention: RdV Vineyards
Let me preface this by saying that RdV isn’t for everyone. RdV only produces small-batch red blends, so if you’re not a fan of red wine, I’d sit this one out!
That being said, RdV was super elevated and reminded me more of a Napa or Sonoma wine tasting experience. You will need to make a reservation to do a tasting — they will not accommodate walk-ins. The tasting is about $70/person, but you get to try two of their wines, have a glass of Dom Perignon, and a cheese and charcuterie board is included as well.
The wines were really incredible. So much so that I joined their wine club (technically, they call their members “ambassadors,” but I feel like that term is a bit misleading in the blogging industry!) If you’re serious about wine and don’t mind aging your reds, this might be something worth looking into!
Have you ever visited Virginia wineries? Let me know in a comment below!
Photos by Tom McGovern