Virginia wines today allow otherwise overlooked varietals (like viognier and cabernet franc) to shine and inspire local, family-owned vineyards to experiment with revolutionary blending techniques and flavor profiles. Along the Virginia Wine Trail, the Monticello Wine Trail invites both wine amateurs and aficionados to taste the region’s legacy of quality and prestige through wine.
The wine community of Charlottesville and Albemarle County offers something for every palate, from a bottle to pair with a weeknight dinner and a bottle to save for a special occasion. Along with this tasteful diversity, incredible landscapes and beautiful views accompany many of the wineries. It makes for a perfect place to gather with friends and family, stay a night, or spend a weekend for a vineyard vacation.
Each of the 40+ wineries along the trail offers a unique experience, allowing you to find your own perfect pairing.
Where to Celebrate Virginia Wine Month
MERIWETHER SPRINGS VINEYARD & BREWERY
The foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains are home not only to some of the East Coast’s best wines and wineries—the area is also populated with an extraordinary number of breweries, an industry which thrives hand-in-hand with the recreational adventures afforded by the natural landscape. The first destination in the Charlottesville area to combine wine and beer is Meriwether Springs Vineyard & Brewery, whose Old World viticulture and draft beers on tap offer the perfect array of beverage selections for all.
The four wines offered, from chardonnay to vidal blanc to petit verdot to rose, continue to uphold the Monticello Wine Trail’s reputation as a world class wine destination. In-house brews like the blonde lager beg to be savored alongside the Meriwether Music Series each summer, during which local artists are invited to perform in the vineyard’s open spaces.
Two separate event spaces, a full tasting room, and historic bed and breakfast on this family-owned and operated 40-acre property make Meriwether Springs the ideal host for any special occasion. In the meantime, we’ll be spreading our picnic blankets on the lawn with a glass of 2019 vidal blanc in hand.
PIPPIN HILL FARM & VINEYARDS
The vineyards of Pippin Hill are certainly well-renowned for their distinguished, boutique wines. Signature sauvignon blancs and barrel fermented chardonnays grown on this breathtaking estate are showstoppers in the tasting room, where guests are invited to tour and learn about viticulture and Virginia terroir. However, the hidden gem of Pippin Hill is the culinary experience.
The garden, farm, and kitchen are designed to work seamlessly together, in a true farm-to-table (and vineyard-to-table) fashion. While exploring the estate, you will find fresh ingredients growing alongside the vines. And, you will see the same ingredients appear later in a carefully crafted menu of small plates from executive chef Ian Rynecki (hint: scan the menu for radish icons, which indicate plates composed of ingredients from Pippin Hill’s garden).
Keep an eye out for new events added to the Pippin Hill calendar each month—whether it is a handmade pasta cooking course, estate tour and tasting, or “Live Music on the Hill,” this destination is sure to deliver nothing short of true expertise in hospitality.
MERRIE MILL FARM & VINEYARD
After visiting Charlottesville for the first time in 2017, Guy and Elizabeth Pelly fell in love with the idea of moving from their home in the United Kingdom to open a vineyard in the very same landscape. They began renovations and planting of vines in their new home at Merrie Mill Farm in Keswick, Virginia, just one year later, which has since grown into an eclectic tasting room featuring antique furnishings and unique artwork hand-selected by Elizabeth Pelly.
The tasting room’s original collection of True Heritage wines has since been joined by those from Merrie Mill’s first successful harvest, released in April of 2022. The chardonnay, petit manseng, viognier, merlot, and cabernet franc grapes raised in the vineyard’s rare Manteo soil may be enjoyed in a variety of tasting experiences, from the covered and uncovered terraces (complete with space heaters and parasol tables, respectively) to the Vine Terrace, with its stunning balcony view and private booth seating.
This charming, family-owned vineyard pays homage to true southern hospitality, welcoming guests in celebration of good wine crafted by good people.
Check out this complete list of wineries in Charlottesville and Albemarle County to celebrate Virginia Wine Month.
- by Erin Byers Murray