February 09, 2017

7 Wineries in 6 Hours

My friend Meghan is a Wine Nazi. And I mean that in the most flattering, complimentary way possible!

On a cool April day, we three girls - Meghan, my fellow #252by2022 challenger Brittany, and myself - piled into the car and headed west for Virginia's wine country. We hoped to visit at least three wineries; we dared to think we may even see four. But seven?! Well, when you have a determined wine fanatic like Meghan at the wheel, all things are possible!*

(c) Brittany James
1. Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery
As our taste for wine tends to run on the sweeter or less dry side, we were very pleased with a lot of the selections at Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery as most are fruit-based wines and meads. My particular favorite was their strawberry "Sweet Vixen" wine, but the Sweet Melon was a close runner-up.

2. Bold Rock Cidery
Bold Rock is an old favorite of ours as Brittany and I first concocted our #252by2022 challenge after a spontaneous visit to their establishment earlier that spring. The Virginia Apple and Vat No. 1 are our ciders of choice, with the latter resembling more of a champagne than a true cider.

3. Flying Fox Vineyard
The wines of Flying Fox Vineyard suit the palate of dry wine aficionados, of which we are not. However, we found the 2013 Pinot Gris and the White Table Wine to be drinkable** and were pleased that the price for tasting included keeping the stemless wine glass as a souvenir!

Flying Fox Vineyard. (c) Brittany James

4. Afton Mountain Vineyards
With a sign at the front of the property proclaiming that "Grapes Don't Grow in Ugly Places," we had high hopes for beautiful scenery at Afton Mountain Vineyards, and we were not disappointed! Similar to Flying Fox, Afton has many dry varieties of wine, although there were a few sweeter ones which we fancied, such as the Muscat and Mountain White.

5. Cardinal Point Winery
Folksy, bluegrass music greeted our ears at Cardinal Point Winery's outdoor porch and patio where we settled down on comfy couches with a glass of 2014 Quattro, a blend with tastes of apple, peach, pear, and, of course, grape. It is slightly drier than my normal wine favorites, but I took a bottle home with me anyway!
Virginia Is For [Wine] Lovers.
Veritas Vineyard & Winery. (c) Brittany James

6. Veritas Vineyard & Winery
Veritas numbers among the nobility of wineries in the general Charlottesville area. The atmosphere is what I imagine of the vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley. Polished. Aristocratic. Aloof. Veritas' wines have a reputation for being solid performers, but my only favorite of the day was their 2013 Rosé, which was light and crisp.

7. Pollak Vineyards
We capped our wine blitz at Pollak Vineyards, squeaking through the door shortly before their official closing time, but were treated as warmly as if we were the first guests of the day. If the weather hadn't been so depressingly foggy (and it hadn't been so late in the day!), we would've taken advantage of the beautiful patio and scenery around the tasting room. Although Pollak's wines generally run more on the dry side, by this point in the afternoon, I liked almost all of them with the Rosé 2014 (sensing a pattern here?) taking the top spot of the line-up.

Have you visited any of these wineries in Virginia? What's your all-time favorite wine?

Pollak Vineyards.
(c) Brittany James

Wine barrel art.
(c) Brittany James
We four winos!
(c) Brittany James

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* Meghan later went on to visit 8 wineries in 5 hours on a separate occasion. This should be a Guinness Book of World Records title!
** For all we know, they could be very good wines, but as we have not yet developed the taste buds for the drier varieties of wine, we can't recommend either way.
***All photos were taken by and used with permission of Brittany James. Unauthorized use of these photos, as with any photo on The Thrifty Gypsy's Travels, is strictly prohibited.

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