Six spots to check out on a Virginia Winery getaway

With a hop, skip, and a jump, you can find yourself in the beautiful rolling hills of Virginia wine country, just a few hours outside of D.C. traffic. Wineries along the Monticello Wine Trail surround the Charlottesville, Va. area, and range from small, distinct tasting rooms to large ballroom-type settings.

PippinHill3rsz
Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway with your significant other, a fun girls’ trip, a bachelor party, or a family outing (you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that most of the wineries are amazingly kid-friendly), this is a perfect place to start a wine touring trip, without the cross-country journey. The scenery in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains is gorgeous, the wines are top-notch and you will learn a thing or two about wine-making, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Here are six wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail that are all worth the trip.

Afton Mountain Vineyards
Afton Mountain Vineyards has a tasting room with an excellent and knowledgeable staff. Wine is produced on-site, though separate from the tasting room. There is a large covered pavilion for picnic-style parties. Reservations are necessary for parties of six or more.
Bonus: Afton Mountain’s two-bedroom guest house and one-bedroom Vineyard Cottages are available to rent if you want to stay the night to enjoy your time there even more.
Tasting fee: $10 per person.
Open daily, 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Afton, Va.; aftonmountainvineyards.com

Pollak Vineyards
The driveway of Pollak Vineyards takes you through the vineyards ending at the Tasting Room, a gorgeous space with a large fireplace and plenty of tables and chairs to sit and relax in. Food is available for purchase so you can enjoy that alongside your favorite wine. The grounds outside are beautiful with a nearby lake and tons of outside seating.
Bonus: Pollack’s Tasting Room is pet-friendly, though your furry friend might enjoy the hills outside more!
Tasting fee: $10 per person.
Hours: Open Daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day); pollakvineyards.com

Vertias2rszVeritas Vineyard & Winery
Veritas is a very popular stop on the wine trail. It offers a large tasting room with a beautiful fireplace and tons of comfortable seating. There is a large deck outside and the grounds are scattered with picnic tables and wooden rocking chairs, making it very kid- and pet-friendly. Food is available for purchase on-site. Bonus: A beautiful ballroom space is available for events. Plus there are outdoor music concerts in the summer.
Tasting Fee: $10 per person
Mon.–Fri. 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Afton, Va.;
veritaswines.com

King Family Vineyards
This is another popular spot along the trail, and is extremely family- and pet-friendly. King Family Vineyards’ acreage is expansive, adjoining a horse farm with a polo ground. There is plenty of space for a picnic and several options for outside seating. The tasting room is large with fun merchandise available for purchase.
Bonus: King Family’s Rosé is a must-try, and cleverly named “Crosé” because of the vineyard’s location in Crozet.
Tasting Fee: $10 per person
Open Daily
10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (last
tasting at 5 p.m.) Crozet, Va.; kingfamilyvineyards.com

PippinHill2rszPippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
The view from Pippin Hill will take your breath away. It sits high on a hill offering stunning views of the distant Blue Ridge Mountains. The Tasting Room is located in a gorgeous,
rustic-chic converted barn that has both indoor and outdoor seating for tastings.
Its restaurant offers amazing food that complements the wines. It is also very pet-friendly.
Bonus: The converted barn is available for weddings and other special events.
Tasting Fee: $10 per person
Tues.–Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
North Garden, Va.; pippinhillfarm.com

Flying Fox Vineyard
This small, family-owned winery offers an intimate tasting room with excellent wines. The friendly staff are very well educated on their wine and enthusiastic to share their knowledge with you.
Bonus: They make a vermouth that is out-of-this-world smooth and delicious.
Tasting Fee: $5 per person
Hours: March–December, Fri.–Mon., 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; January–February, Fri.–Mon., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Open daily in October.
27 Chapel Hollow Rd., Afton, Va.; flyingfoxvineyard.com

—Claire Dougherty Kovacs

Photography by James Darcy

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