When you think of “wine country” in the United States, most people’s minds automatically travel to the ever-popular regions of Napa and Sonoma. But did you know the state of Virginia is home to 10 exceptional grape-growing and winemaking regions? Sure, the area may be lesser-known than Northern California—but if you’re looking to spend the day sipping delicious wine and immersed in rich history and mountain views, Virginia wine country holds its own.
With more than 300 wineries located around the commonwealth, Virginia wine country hosted more than 2.3 million wine tourists in 2018—and thanks to the area’s diversity of thriving grapes (petit verdot, cabernet franc, chardonnay, and merlot, to name a few), local farm-to-table foods, and dedication to experience-driven tours and fun events, the number of visitors each year continues to increase.
If you’re an oenophile who wants to see (and taste) everything Virginia wine country has to offer, these 10 vineyards and wineries located all around the state are definitely worth the trip.
King Family Vineyards
Enjoy your wine with a side of horses at King Family Vineyards. Located just 15 minutes outside of Charlottesville in Crozet, the property is also uniquely home to a 12-acre polo field; every Sunday morning between Memorial Day Weekend and mid-October, you can bring your own chairs and snacks (and dogs!), and sit front row at a free polo match, a glass of wine in hand. Their tasting room is open year-round, and you can try five seasonal wines for $10 (definitely order a glass of their namesake Crosé)—or opt for a tasting of their reserve wines in the Library Room.
Veritas Vineyard and Winery
Located 20 minutes outside Charlottesville, Veritas is a 50-acre vineyard that offers all the makings for a memorable afternoon: elegant wines to taste, sprawling mountain views, friendly staff, and incredible food (The Farmhouse restaurant proudly offers a farm-to-fork menu). During warmer months, you can relax on the terrace with a glass of bubbly, while the fireplace and leather sofas pair perfectly with Petit Verdot when it’s chilly out. For a more educational visit where you can learn a little about winemaking 101, Veritas offers tours of the barrel room every 30 minutes, which you can reserve online ahead of time. Additionally, their Starry Night outdoor concert series draws tons of music and wine lovers on the second Saturday of every month during the summer.
Early Mountain Vineyards
Known for its excellent tasting room, Early Mountain Vineyards not only offers flights of their own award-winning wines, but they pour a selection of fantastic wine from wineries all over the state. The venue is revered for its upscale yet cozy vibe, with fireplaces, restaurant seating, and plush leather sofas that overlook the sprawling views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their full menu keeps it local, featuring seasonal produce and cheeses from nearby farms. Want to make it a romantic weekend? Arrange a stay at the vineyard’s quaint guest cottage located right on the property.
Named for the ox-eye daisies that grow all over the property at times, this elegant vineyard and its 23 acres of vines are situated right in the Shenandoah Valley. Ox-Eye is run by the Kiers family, who pride themselves on producing food-friendly, high-quality wines like the White Ox (a semi-dry blend of Chardonnay and Riesling) and Pinot Noir. Their tasting room is located in downtown Staunton, which is open seven days a week (until 8 p.m. on Saturdays) and features an upstairs art gallery that rotates different artists and works every three months.
Located in Central Virginia, Barboursville was established by experienced Italian viticulturalists over 50 years ago; today, it bottles and serves many award-winning wines and is one of the most well-known wineries in the state. True to their roots, Barboursville boasts a Tuscan Tasting Room, open seven days a week ($12 to taste 17 current vintages), and a Northern Italian-driven restaurant menu. There’s also Library 1821, their reserve tasting room that overlooks the vines and is rich with historical items, including the letter written by President John Quincy Adams appointing James Barbour to his cabinet as Secretary of War.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay on Virginia’s Eastern Shore is Chatham Vineyards, a picturesque vineyard and winery that operates on a historic working farm. With 32,000 vines growing Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot grapes, the vineyard looks straight out of Europe and produces many wines worth sampling. Tastings are $8, and the tasting room is open daily.
Rosemont of Virginia
Conveniently located a short drive off I-85 in Southern Virginia, Rosemont features 450 sprawling acres of farming land that’s been operated by the Rose family since 1858. All of their wines—from sparkling to crisp whites, Bordeaux variety blends, and sweet wines—are estate grown, produced and bottled. Wine tastings are offered seven days a week ($10) and include samplings of all their current vintages; afterward, you’ll want to buy a bottle, grab a seat on the second-floor patio of the old estate building, and take in the beautiful property views. Additionally, tours of Rosemont’s production area, barrel room, and art gallery are free with no reservation needed.
Afton Mountain Vineyards
Situated on the sunrise side of Afton Mountain in Central Virginia, this vineyard’s trademark is “grapes don’t grow in ugly places”—which sets the scene for how beautiful the grounds are year-round. AMV takes credit as the state’s first farm vineyards; today, the property spans 26 acres and grows 11 different varietals, including cabernet franc, merlot, albariño, and gewürztraminer. The lawn and open-air patio have tables and chairs for relaxing all afternoon. If you want to make a weekend getaway out of it, book a stay at the two-bedroom guest house or one of the vineyard’s cottages.
Known as one of the finest vineyards in the state since its first vintage in 1987, Linden is located in Northern Virginia in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains—meaning the views are almost as spectacular as their vino. They proudly produce their refreshing, mineral-driven wines from three distinct vineyard sites, including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and Bordeaux-style red blends. After you do your wine tasting (four wines of your choice), you can order wine by the carafe or bottle and sit outside—don’t forget to bring your own picnic lunch from home.
The Winery at Bull Run
Set next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park as well as a horse farm, The Winery at Bull Run was built as a Northern Virginia-style barn that pays homage to its history. They offer an array of wines, including reds, whites, fruit wines, and ciders. The scenic and sprawling grounds are perfect for both big and small groups—snag a picnic table or bench or set up shop in Hillwood Park with your own blanket and picnic (there’s also gourmet cheeses and fresh-baked baguettes for purchase). For a really unique experience that allows you to immerse yourself in Civil War history while you taste wine and walk around the winery, sign up for the in-depth historical tour and tasting.