November 01, 2014

A Taste of Barboursville Vineyards

Located in the heart of the Virginia Piedmont, Barboursville Vineyards entices visitors with stunning landscapes, evocative ruins of a Thomas Jefferson-designed manor, and, of course, its world-class wines.

Appropriately, a first glimpse of Barboursville Vineyards is of the vines themselves.  Whether erupting in new spring growth or sporting hearty brown leaves of autumn, the sight of them should excite your taste buds in anticipation of their fruits.  Make your way from the shaded parking lot to the American-colonial-meets-Italian-villa inspired tasting rooms, restaurant, gift shop, and event room.  The architectural combination comes with no surprise when you learn that Gianni Zonin, patriarch of the largest network of privately-owned vineyards in Italy, has also owned and operated Barboursville since 1976.  And when Italian viticulture marries Virginia-grown grapes, the results are delicious.

A small fee provides you with a glass and the ability to taste all the vineyard's current wines, which numbered to over twenty vintages in September 2014.  Crackers, small sips, and copious amounts of provided water will ensure a safe drive home after sampling the Merlots, Carbernet Sauvignon, Pinio Grigio, and more.  As a self-admitted lover of sweet wines, I was especially taken with the Philéo, a crisp dessert wine that pairs nicely with fruit or cheese.

Other Barboursville notables are the 2008 Malvaxia Passito, the 2010 Nebbiolo, and the 2010 Octagon, all selected among the 2014 Governor's Case, which highlights the top twelve Virginia wines for the year.

A visit to Barboursville is not complete without wandering around the ruins of the Barboursville Mansion, designed in the 1820s by Thomas Jefferson himself, and currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Rendered a ruin by a fire on Christmas Day 1884, the mansion ruins provide a tragically beautiful backdrop to the vines which blanket the hill in front of it.  Two service buildings, believed to have been constructed circa 1790 and probably served as the original dwellings for the Barbour family, now provide lodging as inns; book a stay on an August weekend and you can catch a Shakespeare play presented on the grounds of the ruins.

While many great winery operations have made Virginia their home, Barboursville is certainly among the forefront, both in the quality of their vintage and in the spectacular scenery of their vineyards, and as they near forty years of operation, expect to see even more award-winning wines in their future.

Have you visited Barboursville Vineyards or any other Virginia winery?


Linking up with Chasing the Donkey for the #SundayTraveler! 


  1. Looks gorgeous! I haven't been to vineyards in Virginia, but wine anywhere is always a good idea.

  2. You really made me feel like I was there! Beautiful pictures, and definitely someplace I need to add to my travel list :)

  3. I've never visited a vineyard, it is definitely something on my bucket list/


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