There’s nothing like braving a rainy (and cold) Saturday to voyage on a wine tour, specifically the Heart of Virginia Wine Trail.
I’m no wine snob but, I enjoy learning more about the art and the interesting (and hard) work that goes in to creating one of my favorite beverages. So, when my friends mentioned a possible wine tour last weekend, I jumped on the opportunity.
Our journey started at 11 am at the James River Cellars in Glen Allen. This blew my mind … a winery in Glen Allen. There, we purchased our $20 “passports” to the HOVA (Heart of Virginia Wine Trail) which would cover our tastings at 6 wineries.
James River Cellar had a impressive selection of whites and reds – with every flavor in between. Leslie, who guided us through each tasting was kind and enthusiastic and had the patience as we tried to pronounce Gewurztraminer (a light, melon-y white) for the 5th time. My favorite was the Colonial Red, a newer non-vintage with a light flavor of cinnamon and a cooling finish of spearmint. This one would be perfect for those hearty holiday meals but also smooth enough for a summer barbeque.
Besides being a local winery, James River Cellar has Fridays on the Patio with live music, food vendors, and lots of vino. If that is not enough they have a BYOP (bring your own picnic) and acoustic music on every other Sunday (starting in May) called Sundays in the Shade.
Only having a banana and cappuccino for breakfast, my stomach wasn’t ready to handle a day of drinking so we decided to eat lunch on the road. The next winery was down 64 West so we wanted to skip the Short Pump chains and find a local country-fied eatery. After pounding on our iPhones, we discovered Hickory Notch Grill and happily downed some barbeque, corn fritters, and fries.
Grayhaven Winery was the next stop and we made perfect timing because we witnessed a proposal in the hour and a half we were there. Cheers! Grayhaven had a warm-ski-lodge feeling on this particular cold day so I instantly fell in love with their warmed mulled wine (made with their Cab Franc). Another plus? This place is dog friendly and we had a cute pup sit next to our table the majority of our visit. Mark your calendars for September 2014 because Grayhaven holds their Annual South African Food & Wine Festival.
We piled back in the car and started driving towards Louisa. After getting lost and grabbing drinks from a questionable drive-thru convenience store, we arrived at our next destination, Weston Farm Vineyards. This one had the most spectacular views by far. I also found my favorite wine here, the Petite Manseng. This white blend is smooth and uniquely nutty. I grabbed a bottle ($14) for myself which I plan to break it out for a well-deserved pasta night.
We arrived at our next stop, Cooper Vineyards five minutes after they closed (at 5 pm).
Lucky for us, our HOVA passport lets you pick up where you last left off so now we have 3 more wineries in store for another weekend.
Virgina is for all lovers (food, wine, hipsters, and North Face apparel) so exploring more of this diverse and beautiful state is always a pleasure.