For a vacation that combines small-town charm and outdoor adventure, stay at Bluegreen Resorts’ Shenandoah Crossing, located in Gordonsville, Virginia, on the outskirts of the Shenandoah Valley. You can enjoy Gordonsville’s quaint Main Street, which offers unique shops and acclaimed restaurants, or explore the countryside on skis in the winter and by bike in the summer. While visiting Shenandoah Crossing, you can also get back to nature by staying in a cozy cabin, or even a yurt, surrounded by rolling hills and the clear waters of Lake Izac.
No visit to the area is complete without enjoying the fruits of the verdant Shenandoah Valley. Take time to visit one or more of its many vineyards, where you can savor a wine tasting and relax on a patio as the sun sets. Here are just seven of the many vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley:
Barren Ridge Vineyard
On what was once an apple orchard in Fishersville, Barren Ridge Vineyards planted a number of grape varieties that are responsible for award-winning wines. The owners of the vineyard preserved the property’s original 1890s apple barn and transformed the building into a cutting-edge winery that produces red, white, blush, blended, and dessert wines.
When you visit Barren Ridge Vineyard, you can sip handcrafted wines in the tasting room and explore the winery on complimentary tours. Conclude your day with a picnic on the winery’s outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard and distant hills.
With grape vines spanning 26 acres in Berryville, Veramar Vineyard produces a wide range of varietals, including the popular Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Seyval Blanc. Veramar’s wines are the product of grapes planted on east-facing hillsides that shield the vines from the hot afternoon sun. This helps the plants retain aromatic compounds for a more complex flavor.
At Veramar, you can choose between a number of different tastings and tours, such as the 30-minute classic wine tasting, which allows you to sample featured red and white wines from recent vintages. You can also schedule a picnic pairing between April and November to savor locally sourced food paired with Veramar’s handcrafted wines, served on a patio with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For a more in-depth tour of the vineyard, book a “Meet the Winemaker” tasting and hear the winemaker explain how the vineyard creates distinctive vintages as you sip on four different wines.
Named after a type of limestone common in Shenandoah Valley soil, Bluestone Vineyard crafts Bordeaux-style, small-batch wines aged in climate-controlled conditions and bottled on site. According to Bluestone, the vineyard’s gentle hills and rocky soil are perfect for growing grapes, especially Cabernet varietals.
You can tour the state-of-the-art winery, or settle on the heated patio to enjoy a white, red, sweet, or reserve tasting. Bluestone also expanded its vineyards in 2015 to start producing a number of additional varietals, including Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
In Staunton, the owners of Ox-Eye Vineyards have been cultivating grapes for more than 15 years, aided by the Shenandoah Valley’s cool climate, relatively low rainfall, and deep limestone soil. The vineyard is named after the ox-eye daisies that grow wild on the property, but the tasting room is located off-site in the Historic Wharf District in downtown Staunton.
Ox-Eye provides suggestions on wine and food pairings to help you fully enjoy the varietals. For example, its Chardonnay 2014 is best with seafood and pasta, while its Traminette 2014 pairs perfectly with spicy foods. You can sample Ox-Eye’s food-friendly wines and tour the tasting room’s historic building, which was originally built in 1904 for a lumber and coal business.
Wolf Gap Vineyard
Specializing in small-batch wines, Wolf Gap Vineyard offers a diverse inventory, ranging from a Bordeaux-style Chambourcin blend to a semi-sweet rosé. Wolf Gap also produces a popular semi-sweet blueberry wine made completely from wild blueberries.
The vineyard hosts tastings on a large outdoor deck situated on a ridge with stunning views of the Great North Mountains. With a reservation, you can also experience private tastings and tours that provide a behind-the-scenes look at the vineyard and winery.
Founded in 2009, Hunt’s Vineyard currently produces three types of wine: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a red blend. The small, family-owned vineyard is also cultivating heartier Chambourcin and Traminette grape varietals, which are better at coping with Virginia’s chilly winters.
Along with bottles of high quality wine, Hunt’s Vineyard offers a flavorful sangria made from its 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard invites visitors to bring a picnic and unwind amidst the relaxing grape vines and gardens.
A farming site since the 1700s, Muse Vineyards is located on the banks of Shenandoah River’s North Fork, and its owners favor the artisanal wine-making principles developed by wineries in Italy and France. Every aspect of the production process is handled on site, from growing the grapes to fermenting to bottling, in order to create hand-crafted, classically styled wines.
Unlike many vineyards, Muse Vineyards has cultivated 15 grape varieties over the years to see which grapes thrive best in the Virginia climate. The vineyard currently produces a rosé from Gamay grapes, a red wine made from four Bordeaux varietals, a Grenache-based red wine, a Roussanne, and a Chardonnay. In addition to experimenting with grape varieties, Muse Vineyards supports a more natural production process with minimal chemical use and no mechanical pruning or harvesting.