Thursday, August 17, 2017  

Wineries in the Chesapeake Bay Area  

This historic Tidewater region of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula falls between the Potomac and York rivers, with the Chesapeake Bay to the east. Here in the winter of 1607–08, Captain John Smith was a prisoner of the Powhatans.

Here were born three presidents — George Washington, James Madison and James Monroe — two signers of the Declaration of Independence and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Here you’ll discover charming small towns that date to Colonial times, thousands of miles of shoreline, local museums, the Urbanna Oyster Festival and many bed and breakfast inns. The verdant land of these peninsulas provides sandy loam soil and a temperate climate year round. Many wineries call this area home—and they, too, await your discovery. Awaiting discovery by your taste buds are such Chesapeake Bay varietals as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Grigio, Seyval Blanc, Syrah, and Vidal Blanc. — from VirginiaWine.org

Athena Vineyards
Athena Vineyards was established in 2002 by three nurses, where they enjoy healthy lifestyles, working in the vineyard and the finer things in life. Their interest in winemaking led to the construction of the winery in 2005. Athena has become the first commercial vineyard and winery in Northumberland County, Virginia. Visit the tasting room and share the warm hospitality in a beautiful vineyard setting. The vineyards overlook the Great Wicomico River with 15 acres of more than 20 varieties of grapes. Their philosophy of growing grapes and making wine in an environmentally safe manner is an important responsibility to land stewardship and the long-term relationship with their customers, neighbors and the world. Athena Vineyards strives to be environmentally friendly, economically sound and socially responsible with all their winery and viticulture practices. All grapes are hand picked at the peak of ripeness. Quality control is essential to ensure that only the finest grapes are used for winemaking—you can’t make great wine without great grapes. Athena Vineyards embraces the lifestyle of the Chesapeake Bay area. www.athenavineyards.com

Belle Mount Vineyards
Belle Mount Vineyards was founded in 2002 by Ray and Catherine Petrie. The vineyards are on the “Beautiful Hill” overlooking the Rappahannock River and Cat Point Creek near Warsaw. If you enjoy bald eagle watching and leisurely trips to pristine freshwater wetlands then you will love it here. There are eight acres of vines, and winemaking focuses on small lots of handcrafted, estate grown varietals and proprietary blends.  The tasting room and gift shop is located in the cellar of the Great Hall banquet facility. Current production levels range between 1,000 to 1,500 annual cases, depending on the vintage. The wines are available in the tasting room, at numerous wine festivals throughout the state and at select wine shops and restaurants. The selection ranges from light and delicate food-friendly whites to hardy reds with deep complexities and long finishes. Several sweet styles are perfect for casual occasions. With complementary tastings you are sure to find something to please your palate. See you soon. www.bellemount.com

General’s Ridge Vineyard
Nestled in the quaint countryside of Virginia’s historic Westmoreland County, located in the heart of the Northern Neck, you will find a world of peace and beauty hidden among the grapevines of General’s Ridge Vineyard. There to give you a warm and gracious welcome to the 100 acre plantation are owners Richard L (Rick) Phillips, Major General USMC (Ret) and wife, Linda.  Take a step back in time and stay in the plantation’s Manor House which has graced the property for 150 years or stay in the modern Vineyard Views Cottage.  The plantation consists of The Manor House, Vineyard Views, The Carriage House and coming this fall—The Vines Room, For “Somewhere in Time” featuring wine tastings from wines produced from grapes grown on this plantation.  General’s Ridge Vineyard is proud to offer lodging and elegant facilities for those events in your life—corporate retreats and meetings, as well as special events such as weddings and reception events or family reunions. We offer catering by top rate establishments, wedding cake providers, entertainment, local photographers, equipment rental, florists, limo service. (General's Ridge Vineyard is not currently affiliated with the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trailwww.generalsridgevineyard.com

Hague Winery
Fine wines in an historic setting. Historic Buena Vista Plantation, circa 1835, on Virginia’s Northern Neck is home to The Hague Winery, a small family business owned by Cynthia and Stephen Madey. The tasting room is housed in a former barn overlooking the manor home, outbuildings, vineyards and surrounding farmland. Take a step back in time and visit this peaceful setting while enjoying some of the Northern Neck’s finest wine. The first release was in the spring of 2009 and included Cabernet Franc, Rosé, Chardonel and a Muscat dessert wine. The Meritage Reserve, a Bordeaux-style red blend was released in late February 2010.  The gift shop features wine accessories, local crafts and picnic fare. Outdoor seating is under a large pergola with a “buena vista” of the vineyard, remaining plantation buildings and farm. Tasting fee is $4/person and will be deducted with a wine purchase. April-November 11am-5pm; December-March by appointment only. www.thehaguewinery.com

Ingleside Vineyards
Escape to Ingleside Vineyards. The unspoiled and unpretentious surroundings offer an atmosphere of relaxation; the perfect getaway from the hectic life of the city. Ingleside embraces the casual attitude and lifestyle of the Chesapeake Bay Region. Come and experience the exceptional wines and indulge yourself in the rich history and beauty of Virginia’s Northern Neck. Opening in 1980, Ingleside Vineyards is one of Virginia’s oldest and largest wineries and produces over 18 varieties of wine from Virginia estate-grown grapes. For thirty years our hand-crafted wines have won numerous awards and top honors in state, national and international wine competitions. The winemaker, Bill Swain, has brought Ingleside wines to a new level with his passion, skill and thoughtful approach to the craft of winemaking. Come visit us for tours, tastings, and unique gift shop. Ask us about special events! www.inglesidevineyards.com

New Kent Winery
New Kent Winery—opened in 2008 after eight years of planning, planting and building—offers some of the finest wines produced in Virginia by one of her most unequalled wineries. Planting the first vines in 2001, the founders started molding reality from their dream of opening a winery in New Kent County. Since that beginning, they planted a variety of vines including... Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Norton—a grape native to Virginia. The grounds surrounding the winery are being sculpted to include lakes, bridges, walking paths and an adjacent polo grounds. This fusion of old and new not only creates an irresistible point to visit but also one that offers an unforgettable souvenir...a bottle of fine Virginia wine from New Kent Winery.  Sample any of the 6 wines, wine books, accessories and clothing in our gift shop, or just relax at a table or couch with your wine on our expansive porch overlooking our beautiful Virginia vineyard. www.newkentwinery.com

Oak Crest Winery
A Long time effort by the Brandts family culminated in the opening of Oak Crest Winery in 2002. The winery’s creation involved a combination of genetics, scientific bent, fortunate opportunities, and the urge to create good wine and share it with others. Oak Crest Winery offers complementary tastings of our Bordeaux-style reds and Rhine-style whites ranging from dry dinner wines to luscious sweet dessert wines. Enjoy conversing with the knowledgable tasting room staff and relaxing in the Old World atmosphere in the authentic post-and-beam tasting room and gift shop. Bring your own picnic lunch to accompany your selection of the wines and enjoy the deck or patio overlooking the woodland beauty of scenic King George County. Amish Cheese & Crackers are available for purchase. Think of Oak Crest  for special occasions such as weddings and receptions at the winery.  Located just 3 miles from Route 301. Visit us soon.

Potomac Point Winery
Stop by the tasting room and you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled into Tuscany. Taste the award winning wines while enjoying a number of light fare selections from the Bistro menu. Browse the gift shop or explore during a facility tour. Manicured Mediterranean-style setting, featuring Le Grand Cru Bistro, veranda seating, internal Tuscan-style courtyard, tastings, tours, olive oil, picnic pavilion, event facility, wedding packages, and extensive gift shop. Just 30 miles south of D.C. Harvest is coming-Don’t miss our Premier wine tasting and harvest cellar tour. See first-hand how the grapes are crushed, taste the juice and learn how wine is made. Also taste the infused olive oil bar and get a souvenir logo glass. Receive a 20% discount off wine and gift purchases that day. Reservations are required. Call Denyel at 540-446-2107. Tours are 1 and a half to 2 hours. Open Sun & Mon 11am-6pm; Wed & Thurs 11am-6pm; Fri & Sat 11am-9pm. Closed Tues. www.potomacpointwinery.com

Vault Field Vineyards
Vault Field Vineyards is located on historic Vault Field Farm near the town of Kinsale. The award-winning wines are the result of a marriage between an exceptional terroir and the latest techniques in viticulture. The first vintage wines (2006) have received the following medals: 2009 Virginia Wine Classic—Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze; 2008 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition—Gold, Silver, Bronze; 2008 State Fair of Virginia—Silver; 2007 Virginia Governor’s Cup—Silver, Bronze, Bronze.  Wines: Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, White Wine Blend—Conundrum, a semi-dry Rosé. “Red” is a semi-sweet blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chambourcin. The flagship “Reserve Red” is a Meritage blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Vault Field Vineyards offers a tasting room, winery & vineyard tours. Ask us about private parties. Open Feb. to Dec., Thurs.-Sun., 11am to 5pm (6pm in summer), or by appt. www.vaultfieldvineyards.com

White Fences Vineyard
Every wine has the character of the land in its soul. At White Fences they also embrace the sky: the cloudless sailing days and the black, black nights shot through with meteors. This relationship between land and sky courses through each vine and is celebrated in each cluster. White Fences Vineyards has 6 acres of Vinifera and French American Hybrid vines producing wines of quality and richly subtle tones. Years ago, when they planted the vineyard, the goal was to produce excellent wines that could compete on structure and complexity with the best wines in the world. It’s a lofty goal, or some might say an impossible goal, but they work toward it every day. The owners and staff feel blessed to live here, and make their wine here, and there is not a moment that they don’t know it. And there is not a bottle of wine they create that does not have in its character the certain sense of itself and where it comes from. www.whitefencesvineyards.com

Williamsburg Winery
Williamsburg Winery is Virginia’s largest winery with an annual production of some 60,000 cases. With approximately 100 wineries in Virginia, the Williamsburg Winery accounts for almost one-quarter of all wine production in Virginia. The Williamsburg Winery was established in 1985 by the Duffeler family. The first wine produced, Governor’s White, was released in 1988 and won a Gold Medal within two weeks. Today, Governor’s White is the most popular wine made at the winery. Wines produced here are appealing to a broad range of wine lovers, from the occasional wine drinker to the wine enthusiast. The 50 acres of vineyards which surround the winery offer a beautiful backdrop to the Old World-style village where the winery is located. Most of the wines have historical references listed on the back of each bottle. For example, Governor’s White was named after Governor Berkeley, Virginia’s first governor. Tours of the facility.  www.williamsburgwinery.com

Each winery offers wine tastings, tours and a gift shop. Some have a small fee associated with their services. Groups of 10 or more are welcome at all wineries, but please call ahead so the staff can prepare and give your group the attention it deserves. There are picnic facilities at each winery and you may consume wine purchased at that winery by the bottle or glass. All wineries offer help with planning special events at the winery. Hours of operation subject to change. See the individual winery websites for details. — from chesapeakebaywinetrail.com