Virginia’s wine country is a hidden gem that’s gaining fast recognition as a destination for wine lovers. Winemaking is not new to this richly historic state, which actually dates back to the first settlers in 1609. Although viticulturists initially had a rocky start due to war and pests, Virginia has now gained recognition as a destination for wine enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.
As a Virginia native, I am very excited to share some of the best wineries in Virginia. We’ll explore award-winning wines from sprawling historic estates to micro-boutique vineyards high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Grab a glass and start sipping as we take a tour through the heart of Virginia’s wine country.
Table of contents: ()
- 1. Linden Vineyards
- 2. RdV Vineyards
- 3. Ankida Ridge Vineyards
- 4. Stinson Vineyards
- 5. Glen Manor Vineyards
- 6. Stone Tower Winery
- 7. King Family Vineyards
- Final Thoughts on the Best Wineries in Virginia
1. Linden Vineyards
One of the reasons for the success of Virginia’s wine industry is highly-respected winegrower Jim Law. He is the founder of Linden Vineyards, which is uniquely situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a former apple orchard. Jim has been producing superior-quality wines from these high-elevation vineyards since the 1980s.
Not only has he elevated Virginia’s reputation as a producer of premium wines, but he has also inspired and mentored others who went on to become highly regarded Virginia winemakers such as Rutger de Vink from RdV Vineyards.
Linden Vineyards is known for its single vineyard Chardonnay and complex Bordeaux-style red blends. If I had to pick only one bottle of wine to showcase the unique terroir of Virginia, I would recommend Linden’s Hardscrabble Red. This silky and elegant wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
2019 Linden Vineyards Hardscrabble Red
Tastings must be reserved in advance. Linden Vineyards is not the place you go with a large group of friends to drink copious amounts of wine. It is for those who truly want to experience some of Virginia’s best wine in a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere.
When my husband and I went, we enjoyed an intimate wine tasting comparing vintages in the wine cellar amidst the oak barrels. Linden Vineyards now conducts comparative wine tastings at their cozy, rustic tasting counter. If you are a club member or if they are not too busy, you can enjoy another glass on their porch overlooking the vineyards.
INSIDER TIP: On your way back from Linden Vineyards, do not miss the hot, freshly baked Apple Butter Cinnamon Donuts from the Apple House. This Linden dining establishment has been around since 1963!
How to Visit Linden Vineyards
3708 Harrels Corner Road
Linden, Virginia 22642
Tastings: By appointment only through Tock. Open on Saturday-Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. $25 per person.
2. RdV Vineyards
Remember Jim Law’s student, Rutger de Vink? This driven marine went on to start the highly-regarded RdV Vineyards after purchasing a former Angus cattle farm in 2004. His meticulously maintained vineyards are set among the southern-facing, rocky hillside in picturesque Delaplane, Virginia.
Wine tasting at RdV Vineyards in Delaplane, Virginia
RdV Vineyards makes a striking first impression. After pulling through the private metal gate, my husband and I drove the winding country gravel road until we reached a crisply white barn building with a towering central silo.
We were greeted warmly upon our entrance and were given a very detailed tour of the spotlessly clean facility. Our wine tour guide was actually the former pastry chef of the neighboring 3-star Michelin restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington. This incredible restaurant alone is worth planning a vacation to Virginia.
After our wine tour, we were led to our personal nook to enjoy the wine tastings at our leisure. The ambiance was industrial yet warm with many mid-century modern touches.
We had a lovely glass of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne to start which was followed by the only two Bordeaux-style blends they produce, Lost Mountain and Rendezvous.
Expectations were high. After all, their website tagline is “An American Grand Cru.”
After several pensive lingering sips, it was clear why RdV’s small production Bordeaux-style blends rank as some of the best wines not only in Virginia but the world.
How to Visit RdV Vineyards
2550 Delaplane Grade Rd.
Delaplane, Va 20144
Tastings: By appointment only through Tock. Open on Friday-Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. $120 per person for 3 wine tastings. Cheese & charcuterie board included.
3. Ankida Ridge Vineyards
Pinot Noir in Virginia? Impossible. There’s no way this fussy grape varietal could thrive in Virginia’s hot and humid climate. I thought so too until I visited this little micro-boutique vineyard perched high in the Blue Ridge Mountains at 1,800 feet.
Let me introduce you to Ankida Ridge, “where heaven and earth join.”
Ankida Ridge Vineyards was not planned. Owners Dennis and Christine Vrooman picked this plot of land to retire after running a veterinarian clinic in Virginia Beach.
Little did they know this mineral-rich six-acre sliver of land in the heart of the Blue Right Mountains had a very special microclimate where the impossible could be made possible. As the owners like to call it, “Virginia’s Little Burgundy.”
Finding this hidden gem out in rural Amherst county was quite the journey. Make sure to download Google offline maps because the cell reception is spotty. We learned this the hard way when we got lost and almost missed our reservation time.
As we navigated the steep gravel road high up in the hills, we passed by the resident Katahdin sheep and chickens. All the animals play an important role in helping to maintain the vineyard using biodynamic methods.
We were greeted warmly as we entered the rustic, light-filled tasting room. Since it was a beautiful fall day, we chose to do our wine tasting outdoors watching the local hummingbirds dart in and out from their brightly-colored glass feeder.
After the first few sips, I was stunned Virginia could produce such an elegant, balanced, vibrant Pinot Noir.
My husband and I love this dainty varietal and purposely seek it out on our travels. This quest has led us to famous Pinot Noir wine destinations such as Burgundy (France), Willamette Valley (Oregon), and Central Otago (New Zealand). Who knew a high-quality Pinot Noir was in our own backyard.
Don’t just take it from me. The famous 3-star Michelin Inn at Little Washington now proudly offers Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on their curated wine list.
In addition, Decanter and The Washington Post have sung their praises. They were even invited to the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon, which is a distinct honor.
How to Visit Ankida Ridge Vineyards
1304 Franklin Creek Rd.
Tastings: By appointment only through their online reservation system. Open on Friday-Sunday 12 – 5 pm in April-December and Friday-Saturday 12 – 5 pm in March. 3 wine flights from $10 – $12.
4. Stinson Vineyards
It’s a small world in Virginia’s wine circle.
Nathan Vrooman is the winemaker at Ankida Ridge Vineyards and also co-winemaker at Stinson Vineyards with his wife Rachel Stinson. Rachel and Nathan are the husband-wife power team that is responsible for creating some unique, hand-crafted Virginia wine using traditional French wine-making techniques.
You may be surprised to know this operation takes place in a temperature-controlled 3-car garage right on the property. The Stinsons took their inspiration for making artisanal, small batches of wine from the French garagiste movement.
Yes, this is literally garage wine!
Wine tasting outdoors at Stinson Vineyards
We walked into the light and airy tasting room with warm wood accents. The staff was extremely friendly. Since it was a beautiful summer day, we decided to enjoy our sipping outdoors with a mountain view.
There were four flight options ranging from a crisp, bright 2021 Sauvignon Blanc to an age-worthy 2017 Meritage, which is a Bordeaux-style blend. Another favorite was the spicy 2019 Cabernet Franc, which is a varietal that thrives in Virginia’s climate.
INSIDER TIP: The Stinsons also run the Inn at Stinson Vineyards, an adorable 4-bedroom boutique B&B that is adjacent to the winery. Both my husband and I agree this was one of our favorite romantic mountain getaways in Virginia.
How to Visit Stinson Vineyards
4744 Sugar Hollow Road
Crozet, Va 22932
Tastings: No appointment is required. Open Thursday-Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. 4 wine flights from $12-$16.
5. Glen Manor Vineyards
We discovered Glen Manor wine during an amazing dining experience at Blue Rock Restaurant in the heart of Virginia wine country.
Talented Chef Bin Lu from D.C.’s 2-star Michelin Pineapple & Pearls now heads up the Blue Rock Restaurant and is the one responsible for their well-curated wine list. One of our courses, the baharat-spiced dry-aged ribeye, was paired with the beautifully crafted Glen Manor St. Ruth Red Blend.
We were hooked and knew we had to visit. After a restful sleep at the Blue Rock Inn, we made the 35-minute drive the next day to yet another incredible Virginia winery.
Glen Manor Vineyards has quite the history. It has been owned by five family generations since 1901. After working with Virginia winegrower Jim Law of Linden Vineyards, current owner Jeff White established his own vineyard on his family farm in 1995.
The 18 acres of steeply sloped vineyards used to be an apple and peach orchard. Jeff grows several varietals including Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petit Manseng. His wines are gaining recognition and have been featured in the Wine Advocate.
Reservations are required, and no big groups are allowed. We arrived on a cold winter day and chose to enjoy our tasting indoors. They do have a large outdoor area with plenty of Adirondack chairs to enjoy a glass of wine when the weather is more agreeable.
Our friendly host guided us through the wine flight as we warmed up indoors. We had already enjoyed a lovely glass of the Merlot-dominant St. Ruth Red Blend the night before. Another standout wine we enjoyed was the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant 2014 Hodder Hill Red Blend.
How to Visit Glen Manor Vineyards
2244 Browntown Rd.
Front Royal, Va 22630
Tastings: By appointment only. Max of 4. Open Friday – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. Make a reservation by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2 wine flights (red and white) from $12-$16.
6. Stone Tower Winery
The Huber family has been in the furniture business for many years. Most Virginians are familiar with the well-made, beautiful furniture pieces from Belfort Furniture. While current owners, Mike and Kristi Huber, still own Belfort, they decided to try their hand at winemaking on their 300-acre family estate in 2009.
Stone Tower Winery is located on Hogback Mountain and has been part of the family since the 1970s when Mike’s parents purchased a farm. Little did they know their land’s unique terroir would be ideal for producing premium wine.
Upon the advice of multiple wine experts on which varietals would do best, they planted varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
Stone Tower Winery is a stunningly gorgeous estate. No wonder everyone in Virginia wants to get married here. The property is perched high on a hill offering panoramic views of the rolling vineyards, a pond, and the Bull Run and Blue Ridge mountains.
There are several tasting rooms including the Harvest Barn (family and pet-friendly), Tower View (for club members and 21+ only), and the semi-private Pergolas (great for larger groups). We have done all three and had great experiences.
Mike and Kristi are truly the nicest people you will ever meet, and it seems like they know how to hire the right staff to reflect that warm hospitality.
Of course, the tasting rooms are all exquisitely decorated. Remember, the owners also own Belfort Furniture.
Stone Tower Winery offers two labels: Stone Tower Estate (grapes are 100% grown on the property) and Wild Boar (grapes are grown from other wine regions like Willamette Valley in Oregon).
A truly standout wine we enjoyed sipping is their Estate Hogback Mountain, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. This wine would be great paired with a meaty dish like slow-roasted lamb shanks.
We also had the opportunity to recently try the 2018 Maison Sanglier Pommard. This lovely, elegant Burgundian Pinot Noir was made right from the vineyards they purchased in Pommard, France in 2016. My husband and I just stayed in Pommard last fall to do wine tastings in Burgundy. I wish I had known the Hubers had property in this French village before we had gone. It would have been fun to visit!
The Hubers seem to do everything right. Not only are they producing phenomenal wine, but they also have a delicious food menu. Recently we tried their Wood-Fired Farmer’s Market Pizza, which was made with butternut squash, ricotta, sage walnut pesto, and maple syrup. Interesting combo and it was incredible.
How to Visit Stone Tower Winery
19925 Hogback Mountain Rd
Leesburg, Va 20175
Tastings: No reservations are required (except for the pergolas). Open Thursday – Monday 11 am – 6 pm.
7. King Family Vineyards
The late David King, a lawyer from Houston moved his wife and three sons to rural Crozet, Virginia in 1996. He purchased 327 acres in hopes of establishing a polo field, a sport he dearly loved.
His dream came to fruition. Free polo matches continue to be held on the grounds of the King Family Vineyards every Sunday at noon from Memorial Day weekend through October.
The King family was surprised to discover their land was also prime for growing grapes. In 2002 they decided to open King Family Vineyards.
Their current winemaker is Frenchman Matthieu Finot, who studied viticulture and enology in Burgundy. He worked in wine regions all over France, Italy, and South Africa before joining forces with the Kings and bringing his expertise.
The wine estate is grand and sprawling and offers numerous places to enjoy a glass of wine outdoors. Not only is the King Family Vineyard one of the best wineries in Virginia, but it’s also one of the most beautiful. The property offers stunning views of the towering Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
We arrived too late to enjoy a wine tasting, but we were able to purchase a bottle of their 2018 Meritage to enjoy out on the patio. Various vintages of the Meritage, the Petit Verdot, and Viognier have won medals in the Virginia Governor’s Cup.
Another crowd favorite is the smartly named Merlot-based Rosé called Crosé (a play on the town it’s located in, Crozet). Its tasting notes are described as “fresh and crisp with notes of grapefruit, lime, watermelon.” I can’t wait to try a glass on a hot, summer Sunday when I can watch one of the famous polo matches.
King Family Vineyards also has a variety of local food trucks on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We enjoyed some delicious chicken tacos on homemade corn tortillas.
Alternatively, grab a delicious sandwich from Greenwood Grocery five minutes down the road and enjoy a picnic with your wine. Outside food is permitted.
How to Visit King Family Vineyards
6550 Roseland Farm
Crozet, Va 22932
Tastings: No reservations are required. Open Monday – Sunday from 10 am – 5:30 pm except for Wednesday (open until 8:30 pm)
Final Thoughts on the Best Wineries in Virginia
As a Virginia native, I have had the opportunity to taste a lot of Virginia wine over the years.
I will be honest. Some were hits, and some were misses.
I am excited to share that the hits are now far outweighing the misses. You know this statement is true when Decanter and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate take notice. Virginia was even recently featured in the hit show V is for Vino hosted by certified sommelier Vince Anter, where he showcases all the best wineries in Virginia.
Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of this close-knit group of Virginia winemakers, Virginia is now recognized as a serious wine destination.
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