This past weekend my husband pretty much nailed it for a birthday weekend surprise. His schedule is crazy so we went a little early to celebrate my birthday, no complaints here. He planned the whole thing , which if you read my blog you know is usually my turf. I am the anal retentive planner, so it was nice to take a back seat and just enjoy a weekend planned for me, by Matt. Where did we go?
Matt and I have some serious history with Virginia. During our relationship Matt was in VA for a whole year while I lived in our shared apartment in Philadelphia, (definitely not the original plan.) I made bi-weekly drives from my job in Trevose, PA to Charlottesville, VA. Check out a map, it’s quite the trip for a weekend, haha, but this man was worth it. Long story short, we spent a lot of our relationship/engagement back and forth between PA and VA so his idea to spend a weekend there as a married couple was amazing.
Matt knows I love winery visits. I love wine, people are always so friendly, you learn so much about an area…it’s just a blast. He had us drive down to Winchester, VA Friday night, stay the night, then we hit the Shenandoah Wine Trail on Saturday Morning.
I don’t know if you’re like me, perhaps I’m naive, but when I think wine, I don’t think Virginia… BOY WAS I WRONG.
So let me take you to our 3 stops we made.
1st Stop: Shenandoah Vineyards
This place was breathtaking as we pulled up. We walked up the vine-covered stairs, onto a deck and this view. I obviously posed in it as well (in a stitchfix shirt I might add.)
The winery was so inviting. There were two ladies working the counter. When we went in we were shocked to find 2 groups already in tastings, but were happy to walk around the adorable shop. They had cute wine everything. You name it, they had it. When it was time for our tasting we were with the manager who was so fun. We had 3 options for tastings:
- Classic: Around eight medium dry to sweet wines, $5.00
- Premium: Around nine dry whites and dry reds, $8.00
- Full: A full tasting of all our wines, and a guided tour (offered on the hour), $10.00
Matt went with the Classic and I went with the Premium. They did our tastings together so we could each try a bit of the other persons, it was fantastic. They really knew their stuff. We were taught how to swirl, how to taste, and even tried pairing one of the wines before and after chocolate to taste how it changed the wine…chocolate and wine, count me in.
Overall it was a great experience. We got 3 bottles of wine there, which gave us back the cost of one tasting. We said our goodbyes and continued along our trail. Luckily the ladies gave us an older map and said they recommend using that, it’s easier to follow.
Back in the car and off to the next!
2nd Stop: Cave Ridge Vineyards
Pulling up to this place, I was blown away. The view, the building…stunning. They have amazing photos of the building on their website. Take a peek. Incredible.
This place had amazing outdoor seating, so as we walked up, we already knew we’d be back outside to drink some wine.
The tasting room was great. Everyone was very friendly and we were quickly helped. There were two tasting options:
-Standard Tasting: $6
-Reserve Tasting: $10
Matt and I both went with the standard and decided it might be good to get some food as well. The wines were amazing. We both ended up liking a white called, Traminette. We wanted to get a cheese plate, (correction: I wanted to get a cheese plate,) and were originally going to get glasses of wine. The best part about this place was you can just buy the bottle (it’s cheaper than buying glasses of wine,) they give you two glasses, then you can go outside and drink. Amazing. We took our new bottle, went outside and took in these views. (unfortunately I only have my phone camera.)
As if it couldn’t get any better, then the cheese plate came. Can you see the happiness?
We ate this amazing cheese plate, sat under a cozy umbrella and just enjoyed our wine and food. We met nice couples, one who had a 16-year-old whippet, cutest lil guy. That was the other thing, all these wineries seemed to be dog friendly, which made Matt and I consider taking our Duke down and doing this again.
After we finished our wine and cheese, (Matt was driving so he only had a glass,) we geared up for a longer drive down to our last and final winery.
3rd and final stop: Barren Ridge
I have to be honest, I think this one was my favorite stop (could also be that I was all wine-d up at this point.)
We pulled up and if it was even possible, even more beautiful views.
This winery was definitely busy, and the best part, SO MANY DOGS!!! The winery has their own “mascot,” their dog Rascal. He is a little terrier dog, I think a Jack Russell mix, who just runs around chasing cars, visiting wine drinkers…amazing.
We went into the tasting room and had a really great guy lead us through it. He was around our age and super fun. I think the wines here might have been my favorite, mostly because they have a red wine that is meant to be chilled…nom nom nom. My new favorite wine: Red Barren. We did the classic tasting, which ended with my new favorite. After the tasting, and me taking notes, (super nerd,) we went out to the beautiful deck, with glasses of our favorite wine and took it all in.
The view was outstanding, the wine was great, the dogs were awesome…but my company, that was the best part 🙂
We probably just hung out on the patio area for 2 hours. There were lots of people who brought their own snacks, love that too. As I said before so many dogs with their owners, lots of people buying bottles and just sitting out. The whole atmosphere was fantastic.
After a while it was time to leave and head to Charlottesville for our hotel check in and dinner reservation at The Local, our favorite restaurant that we discovered by accident on one of my many trips down to see Matt.
Seriously, if you are ever in the Charlottesville area..you HAVE to go to the Local. I have never had a meal there that didn’t blow me away. The food is insane and the drinks…just take a peek at this mango mojito or as they called it the “localjito.”
We had an amazing dinner at our favorite place, Matt got some Kohr’s custard afterward, then we went to the movies. A pretty jam-packed day full of wine, cheese, dogs, amazing food at the local, and lots of quality time.
I cannot recommend enough trying out the Shenandoah Wine Trail. We only stopped at 3 wineries and they were all so fantastic. I would definitely make the trip again and see even more.
OH, how could I forget. With all of our new wine purchases I went on my favorite site, Amazon of course, and found a new wine rack for our dining room. Matt and I put it together, filled it with our wines (some we already had,) put up some wine glasses and then I went to Marshall’s Home goods and found these two fun toppers for the table. Another small home decor project.
Wineries in VA were definitely a new and amazing adventure. Hope to have some new adventures to share soon!