Virginia Wine Tasting: 5 Things You Should Know Before You Go
Virginia makes good wine? I get that question frequently. The answer is yes, in the last decade I’ve seen Virginia many wines going from ok to pretty darn great. Not all Virginia wine is good wine though, you just have to know where to go.
Here are the tips I give my friends to help out which wineries to focus on. Note these guidelines are just that. Followed strictly you might miss out on some good options. But if you’re in the middle of Virginia wine country presented with a myriad of options these tips can help you quickly make a decision.
The good news is almost every winery has a great view and outdoor seating, so even if the wine isn’t to your taste, the scenery will be!
1. Figure out what wine tasting experience you’re looking for
If it’s mostly social, look on Groupon, Travelzoo or Living Social to score a big discount and/or a picnic basket full of goodies to eat onsite. Also check the winery’s website to see if they’re hosting any concerts or other fun events. If you’re there for the wine, pay close attention to tips #3-5.
2. Check the website or call ahead if you want to bring a picnic, kids, or pets
Winery rules can vary but are usually strictly enforced, so save yourself disappointment or the embarassment of being asked to leave by checking before you go.
3. Skip Virginia wineries that have gift shops, concerts, or big events
Wine themed merchandise is fun! So is sipping vino outside listening to some great bands. But it often signals the winery is compensating for mediocre flavors with other forms of entertainment.
4. Go for the reserve tasting or cellar tasting options
Not all wineries offer a reserve of cellar tasting, but if you see it listed, go for it! It will definitely cost more, but you’ll get to try the wines that represent the best of the vineyards. I know of several wineries whose entry-level wine is so-so but whose reserve bottles are quite nice.
5. Prohibiting limos or groups more than 6 is a great sign!
Why? Other than ensuring you won’t be competing with drunken bachelorette parties, it means the winery is focused on the wine and provding a serene and enjoyable experience. In a group of 7 or more people there’s never enough space at the counter, it’s hard to hear what the person pouring is saying about the wine, and generally creates a more impersonal experience.
Have you gone wine tasting in Virginia yet?
Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!