By Elaine VonCannon, ABR, SRES, Associate Broker, Notary, Team Leader, Property Manager, Award Winning Agent
In Colonial Virginia, wine was a staple. The House of Burgesses, passed an Acte governing vineyards in 1619. The Twelfth Acte stated that each settler was obligated to plant at least 10 vines for the purpose of making wine on his land. The colonial settlers could not transport all of the wine and provisions they needed so they began to establish vineyards to supply the colony. The Colonial tradition of having an estate with a vineyard was widely practiced in Virginia during Colonial times. Even to this day, Virginia has well established and new vineyards, from the mountains to the sea. This article will focus on wineries in Southeastern Virginia, home to vast numbers of colonial estates, waterfront estates, plantations, country estates --- and, high quality vineyards often planted with grapes from the old world.
804-580-4944 - http://www.atheanavineyards.com
With a grand opening scheduled for Memorial Day 2006, the three friends who began in the health care profession and opened a vineyard because they were inspired by the healthful qualities of wine will present their first vintages to the world. Athena Vineyards are located in Northumberland County. This new vineyard also hails as the first commercial vineyard in Northumberland County. With an assortment of Wiccomico Whites and some Cabernets and other varieties, Athena Vineyards has plenty of wine offerings to open its first season.
Belle Mount Vineyards
800-335-5564 - http://www.bellemount.com
Belle Mount Vineyards is in Virginia's Northern Neck, in the town of Warsaw. The parcel of land where the vineyards are located is within sight of the Rappahannock River, which feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. Belle Mount offers handcrafted wines and a unique, original selection of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cab Franc grapes. This Northern Neck vineyard also grows the Norton grape, discovered in Richmond, Virginia. Wine tastings and tours of the vineyard and winery are free.
Bloxom Winery, Bloxom, Virginia
(757) 655-5670 - http://www.virginiawines.org/wineries/bloxom.html
Take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel from Williamsburg/Norfolk/Virginia Beach north to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Visit old world traditions when you visit the Bloxom Winery. This 35 acre Victorian farm has six acres of wine including Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet. Bloxom Winery is only open from June through September from 1-6 p.m. The chocolate enthusiast can indulge in the combination of free wine tasting and chocolate confections.
Hummel Winery, Montross, Virginia
Hummel Vineyards is tucked away near Westmoreland, in the Northern Neck of Chesapeake Bay Country. The sea air and surroundings are evocative of a country estate, with open wood beams in the traditional style sampling room. Tastings are $5 at Hummel Winery. Sandwiches and light gourmet food are also available to complement the wine.
Ingleside Vineyards, Oak Grove, Virginia
(804) 224-8687 - http://www.ipwine.com
At the intersection of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, Virginia's Northern Neck is rich in history and classic and contemporary wines. Ingleside Vineyard's is part of the 3,000 acre Flemer estate. Planted in the fertile river land between the Potomac and Rappahnnock, 70 acres of grapes grow to their luscious fullness in a stable climate. The Vineyard has been producing wines with awards since 1980, and is run by Charles H. Flemer's great-great grandson. Basic tastings with a souvenir glass are $2.50 and Black Label tastings are $6.00.
Oak Crest Vineyard, King George, Virginia
540-663-2813 - http://www.oakcrestwinery.com/
There are approximately 100 vineyards in Virginia, and each has its own unique approach. Oak Crest Vineyard is founded by a family that has been handcrafting wines since the 1960s. The Conrad Brandts opened the Winery in 2002, but it seems years have gone into the making of these grape connoisseurs. Known for their Bordeaux reds and Rhine style whites, this winery seems to have a healthy offering of Cabernets and Merlots and has just added some sweet blush wines to the menu. The tasting room is a traditional post and beam room. Tastings and tours are free. The winery is only open April 1 - Decmeber 23rd.
White Fences Vineyard and Winery, Irvington, Virginia
(804) 438-5559 - http://www.northernneckwinetrail.com/whitefences.html
The first White Fences vintages were presented at the Irvington Stomp in September 2005. White Fences is slated to open in the summer of 2006. Self-guided tours of the vineyards are available.
The Williamsburg Winery, Williamsburg, Virginia
(757) 229-0999 - http://www.williamsburgwinery.com
This Williamsburg favorite has been producing wine since 1988. The Williamsburg Winery is known for its signature vintage, Governor's White, "the best selling wine made in Virginia". Sample some reserve stocks and varietal blends at this winery, too. Dessert wines include Late Harvest Vidal, Blackberry Merlot, and Rasberry Merlot. The Williamsburg Winery is close to downtown Williamsburg, just off Route 199 West towards Jamestown.
For information on properties in the Greater Williamsburg and Southeastern Virginia area, visit http://www.voncannonrealestate.com. Or, to find out about colonial estates, country estates, waterfront estates, farmettes, equestrian estates, estates with vineyards, historic estates and more, visit http://www.virginia-estates.com.