Ready to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains to taste wine? Wait. What?
Many of us imagine wine tasting trips as adventures to the countryside of France and Italy or heading to Napa Valley in California. Or perhaps our palate and wine knowledge take us deeper and we desire travels to Oregon for Pinot Noir, Australia for Shiraz, or even South Africa for Chenin Blanc or Pinotage. Yet after we discover a real thirst for wine—or come to grips with the fact we just enjoy it—we start to realize how wineries and vineyards appear all across the globe, including in places where we might not think to look. Yes, for travelers planning to head to the Blue Ridge Mountains this summer, make sure you put wine tasting on the itinerary. Here are four vineyards to explore.
King Family Vineyards
Just 15 minutes from Charlottesville at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, King Family Vineyards provides a unique introduction to the area. Of course, both classic tastings and tours are available for purchase. But set in the center of the property, on 12 acres of relatively flat land, visitors will find something not too commonplace at a winery.
One of the founders wanted to continue enjoying the sport of polo. So a polo field was created, and a summer slate of matches begin Memorial Day weekend and carry on through October on Sunday afternoons.
Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards
Located on the Monticello Wine Trail, minutes from President Thomas Jefferson’s historic estate and UNESCO heritage site, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards’ five-star hospitality property was specifically designed to create a top-notch experience for its visitors. With an impressive and knowledgeable team, both the local wines and the tastes from the kitchen are designed to be upscale, unique and pleasing to the palate.
This property specializes in events. The design seems to echo the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” and many couples that visit will vow it’s true.
Chateau Morrisette Winery
After some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway south from its northern entrance in Virginia, the trees and mountain views give way to a chateau. And although first-time visitors may not think of dogs when entering the grounds, the logo, the wine tasting glasses, and most bottle labels showcase a dog that was originally used to improve wine sales. It succeeded.
However, nothing seems required to improve its views. Whether you’re a dog lover or not, the restaurant views will impress. Named as one of the top restaurant views in America (via Open Table 2017), Chateau Morrisette Winery continues to offer a fine dining experience set in a casual yet breathtaking manner.
Midnight Magdalena Vineyards
The Blue Ridge Mountains and its parkway continue deep into North Carolina, but for those keen on returning to the highway, they can find Interstate 77 and head south to the small town of Jonesville, NC. This seemingly uneventful exit (marked with a winery—as many highway exits are in this part of North Carolina) steers folks to Midnight Magdalena Vineyards.
Nestled in an area with over 20 wineries within 15 miles, the booming Blue Ridge wine scene seems much more casual here than it does with some of its more posh Virginian neighbors. In fact, Midnight doesn’t reference a tasting room, but rather its tasting house. Also, since there is no food on site, it is a place where you can bring your own picnic and find a more reasonably priced experience with award-winning wine.
We often think of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the chance to go camping, to get in touch with nature, or perhaps even “rough it” on an adventure. Well, don’t worry too much, there are plenty of places to stop and take in the views with a wine experience. To quote Ernest Hemmingway, “wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” And with so much wine produced in the area, you will never be too far from civilization regardless of how deep you travel into the Blue Ridge Mountains.
To learn more about Craig and his travels, visit stayadventurous.com.