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4 sublime winery getaways in Virginia

Virginia’s vineyards offer stunning backdrops for sipping wine and taking in the magic of fall. | Photo by Kristina Blokhin/stock.adobe.com Virginia’s vineyards offer stunning backdrops for sipping wine and taking in the magic of fall. | Photo by Kristina Blokhin/stock.adobe.com

Although there is no bad time to visit a winery, fall is arguably the best time. After all, October is Virginia Wine Month for a reason. Wineries exude a special magic at this time of year, as they celebrate their harvest and visitors fall under the spell of the season’s brilliant foliage and crisp air.

And while Virginia has countless wineries to visit, several offer much more than just a great pour. These scenic retreats blend delicious food, breathtaking views, and entertainment for an experience that invites guests to sip and stay a while (be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol). Here are 4 to consider for your next winery getaway.

1. Meriwether Springs

Charlottesville

The combination vineyard/brewery on the family estate of explorer Meriwether Lewis sleeps up to 14 and offers gorgeous views and trails to the woods, ponds, and a lake. | Photo courtesy Meriwether Springs

The combination vineyard/brewery on the family estate of explorer Meriwether Lewis sleeps up to 14 and offers gorgeous views and trails to the woods, ponds, and a lake. | Photo courtesy Meriwether Springs

Explorers at heart will be in their element at Meriwether Springs. The combination vineyard/brewery is on the family estate of Meriwether Lewis, who was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to co-lead the 1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition across the country.

The 40-acre property is the perfect place to take in the changing foliage as you wander winding trails to explore the woods, ponds, and lake. A bridge also leads to one of the Lewis family’s original spring houses—a small stone enclosure built over a spring that was used for refrigeration. 

“It’s a piece of history tied to the property that we think makes it pretty unique,” says co-owner Ed Pierce.  

The spirit of exploration carries into the property’s tasting rooms: one dedicated to Meriwether Lewis’ epic journey and the other featuring items representing modern exploration and adventure, such as memorabilia and equipment for rock and ice climbing and kayaking.

Despite the winery’s adventurous pedigree, Meriwether Springs invites guests to unwind sip by sip. “I think most people come here because it’s a relaxed atmosphere,” says Pierce. “We like it mellow up here. You can come and spread out and have a quiet time.”

Its secluded location offers unobstructed views of starry skies and stunning sunsets. In addition to the natural delights, guests can enjoy live music most Saturdays and an Oktoberfest in October.

The 7-bedroom estate costs about $1,000 per night to rent out.

Wine to try: Viognier, a white wine made from a signature Virginia grape.

Read more: Visit the homes of our country’s Virginia-born presidents

2. Williamsburg Winery

Williamsburg

Take in the sunset over the cabernet franc block at Williamsburg Winery. | Photo by Consociate Media

Take in the sunset over the cabernet franc block at Williamsburg Winery. | Photo by Consociate Media

When creating Williamsburg Winery, owner Patrick Duffeler drew inspiration from the area’s rich history, years spent traveling in Europe, and a deep-rooted love of nature. The result: a 300-acre farm that includes a 52-acre vineyard and 28-room hotel.

“We believe good food, good wine, and good, fresh air are critically important,” says Duffeler. “Enjoy a glass of wine, get some cheese, enjoy a breath of truly fresh air and say, in spite of everything, life can be good.”

Enjoy your vino on the 2-level deck, cozy up next to the firepit on the pavilion, or sign up for private wine cellar tours and wine discovery seminars for a behind-the-scenes look at the winery and what’s being poured.

At Williamsburg Winery, enjoy a glass or 2 on the 2-level deck or by the firepit on the pavilion before heading to Wedmore Place, a 28-room hotel that blends authenticity with modern amenities. | Photo by Consociate Media

At Williamsburg Winery, enjoy a glass or 2 on the 2-level deck or by the firepit on the pavilion before heading to Wedmore Place, a 28-room hotel that blends authenticity with modern amenities. | Photo by Consociate Media

Relaxation truly takes center stage at Williamsburg Winery. Explore the farm, which includes more than 62,000 trees and overlooks the James River. Or grab a bottle of wine from the retail shop and picnic by the duck pond. 

After a day spent sipping, head back to Wedmore Place, the winery’s elegantly designed hotel that blends old-school charm with modern amenities. “I wanted a hotel that was not boring,” says Duffeler. “When we opened in 2007, I had a lot of people say that the building looks 200 years old. I wanted to make it look like that. I want to give it a lot of authenticity and provide the comforts of modern life.”

Adding to that air of authenticity is a central courtyard that features fountains from southern France, a herald to those used for watering horses in the 1800s. Each of the hotel’s rooms is named after a region in Europe and features antiques specific to that area. Rates start at $175.

Wine to try: The ’19 Adagio—this red blend pairs perfectly with meat, says Duffeler.

Read more: 8 great European cities for food lovers

3. Stinson Vineyards

Crozet

Many visitors come to Stinson Vineyards in the fall to experience the changing leaves while sipping on vino and enjoying seasonal shared plates. | Photo courtesy Stinson Vineyards

Many visitors come to Stinson Vineyards in the fall to experience the changing leaves while sipping on vino and enjoying seasonal shared plates. | Photo courtesy Stinson Vineyards

If a trip to France isn’t in the cards, a stay at Stinson Vineyards might just be the next best thing. Its wines are heavily influenced by European winemakers, and the property features a tasting room built into a 3-car garage in homage to France’s independent “garagiste” winemakers, who create small batches in their garages. 

“The tasting room is more intimate,” says co-owner Rachel Stinson Vrooman. “We’ve got a great staff who are really personable and make everyone feel at home. It’s very welcoming.”

Enjoy wine flights and charcuterie boards as you take in the stunning views of the vineyards set against the Blue Ridge Mountains. “The big thing everyone comes for in the fall is the changing of the leaves,” notes Vrooman. “We’re right at the foothills of the Blue Ridge and you’ve got the sunset right over the mountains. We have an amazing view.”

Stinson Vineyards’ European-influenced wines are paired with amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. | Photo by Thomas McGovern

Stinson Vineyards’ European-influenced wines are paired with amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. | Photo by Thomas McGovern

The views continue from the beautifully decorated rooms or the heated pool at the luxurious Inn at Stinson Vineyards. Thanks to the innkeeper’s culinary background, the Inn also features fine food. Start your day with a 3-course breakfast in the dining room, library, your room, or on the deck. In the evening, choose a wine cellar dinner that features 4 or 6 courses with wine pairings or the chef’s supper of seasonal shared plates. For a more laid-back experience, check out the oyster trucks and live music on Sundays.

Rates at The Inn at Stinson Vineyards start at $320.

Wine to try: Blanc de mourvedre, a sparkling wine and the winery’s first vintage.

Read more: 5 Virginia food halls you’ll want to visit

4. Veritas Vineyards & Winery

Afton

The Farmhouse at Veritas features wine-paired 4-course dinners, daily breakfast, nightly wine hours with small bites, and even 4-day retreats. | Photo by Abby Grace Photography

The Farmhouse at Veritas features wine-paired 4-course dinners, daily breakfast, nightly wine hours with small bites, and even 4-day retreats. | Photo by Abby Grace Photography

The Blue Ridge Mountains also provide a perfect backdrop to the 60 acres of vines at Veritas Vineyards.

Learn more about its wine in the tasting room or grab a flight and do a “Taste in Place”—a self-guided virtual tasting where scanning a QR code leads to a video detailing your flight’s 4 mini bottles.

At Veritas Vineyards, you can go at your own pace with “Taste in Place,” a self-guided virtual tasting that details the 4 mini bottles in your flight. | Photo by Abby Grace Photography

At Veritas Vineyards, you can go at your own pace with “Taste in Place,” a self-guided virtual tasting that details the 4 mini bottles in your flight. | Photo by Abby Grace Photography

Oenophiles will take special pleasure in the Wine and Food experience, which offers access to the vineyard’s highest-quality reserve wines paired with food prepared by the executive chef.

“You taste the wine, take a bite of the food, and then take another sip of the wine to see how it’s changed the taste and aroma of the food,” says Marketing Manager Lindsey Navin. “It’s a really elevated and special experience for people looking to learn more about the wine-making process and who are more familiar with wine.”

An elevated culinary experience continues over at the Farmhouse, the vineyard’s cozy on-site bed-and-breakfast. Wine-paired 4-course dinners are offered Tuesdays through Sundays, with a focus on local farm-to-table cuisines. You are also treated to breakfast every day, a complimentary bottle of wine, and a nightly wine hour with small bites.

And for those looking for a true winery getaway, the Farmhouse offers 4-day retreats throughout the year. While each retreat varies slightly, they all include yoga, a cooking class, hiking, and cellar and vineyard tours.

“You can make of them what you want. It’s focused on being an overall getaway from it all and a way to reconnect to yourself. We want you to have a great time and enjoy all the good things about life,” says Navin.

Room rates at the Farmhouse at Veritas range from $235 to $295.

Wine to try: 2019 Veritas Reserve, a red that Navin calls “very Virginia and very much reflective of [our winemaker’s] winemaking.”

Betsy Abraham is a freelance writer who enjoys travel, good books, white wine, and most of all, experiences that combine all three.

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AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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