In the past few years the Virginia wine industry has really taken off, with 16 wine regions across the state, including one right here in the Shenandoah Valley. So with October being Virginia Wine Month, we thought we'd share why you should come to the Shenandoah Valley for your wine tasting and wine festival getaway.
The Frederick House is sitting pretty when it comes to local wineries — we even have the tasting room for Ox Eye Vineyards just about five blocks from our door. Their beautiful space, with a downstairs lounge, outdoor patio, and upstairs room flooded with light from the surrounding windows, offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy wine in the bustling downtown setting of Staunton.
The gracious space was built in 1904 and was designed by famed local architect T. J. Collins. Its transformed industrial setting is the perfect background for the many wonderful art shows hung at Ox Eye. It's a muist-do experience for the wine lover visiting Staunton.
Two restaurants in town (within walking distance of us) also specialize in wines.
AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar has the most extensive wine list in town, an international list that has won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for three years now. Their space and vibe is hip and modern but with a vintage touch. And in addition to their regular menu, they offer gormet vegan and vegetarian choices.
The Yelping Dog is much more casual, with a menu limited to charcuterie and upscale grilled cheese sandwiches. But that doesn't stop a crowd from forming to enjoy the fresh urban feel of the place. They carry some Virginia wines, but also an international list by the glass and bottle.
But back to the bigger picture of the Shenandoah Valley Viticultural Area as a whole, you'll find that the wineries in our area offer stunning views, a wide variety of wines, and a casual elegance that makes any wine vacation a delight.
Barren Ridge Vineyards is the one closest to us. At roughly eight and a half miles from here, it's a lovely drive through the countryside to arrive at a winery nestled in the rolling hills of the Valley.
There's a gorgeous outdoor pergola under which to sit gazing out at the vineyards, or in winter, a massive stone fireplace inside for a cozy wine experience. And perhaps best of all their dog, Rascal, a sharp Jack Russell, was named Virginia's "wine dog of the year." He's a very friendly (but unobtrusive) little fella!
Just northwest of us by about 20 miles, in the Bridgewater area, is Bluestone Vineyard, and at an equal distance to the northeast is CrossKeys Vineyards, both of which offer a variety of tastings in settings righ with views and gracious settings.
South of us by roughly 20 miles is Rockbridge Vineyard, which has a rural farm setting, barn and all, with an outdoor pcinicking area that boasts a few swinging benches for lazily sipping and socializing.
With 32 wineries in the Valley, six different wine trails, and the adjacent Monticello AVA near to us as well, there are far too many wineries to list here.
What we can say though is that if you come to Staunton you're just about smack dab in the middle of them all, halfway between Roanoake and Winchester, which constitutes the region. That means you can have wine tastings by day and high culture and dining by night when you stay in Staunton for your wine vacation.
We hope you'll get out and enjoy Virginia's wine month wherever you are, and support this cultural and agricultural asset in our state that has so added to the charms of Virginia. And we hope you'll make the Shenandoah Valley Viticultural Area part of you quest to try them all!
— Joe and Evy (rhymes with heavy) Harman, Proprietors, Frederick House