Dog and Oyster Vineyards; Revisiting a Southern Beach Escape

My first visit to Dog and Oyster was about 3 years ago when the property first began welcoming visitors in their beach cottage style tasting room. For years before the tasting room, the property itself attracted visitors to the 6 room and 10 cottage Hope and Glory Inn. With the Inn’s addition of 6 acres of Vinifera and French American Hybrid vines (Vidal Blanc, Chardonel, Merlot, and Charmbourcin), the Dog and Oyster Vineyard began to take shape. Originally prevented, due to local regulations, from posting a large sign for visitors to come across in their travels through the town of Irvington, they installed two giant corkscrews as artistic pieces that would attract visitors. These pieces stand nearly 25-30 feet high on either side of the gravel driveway leading you through the vineyard site to the tasting room. As you pull into the road and veer to the right into the tasting room parking lot, you will notice a gorgeous antique tractor bearing the winery logo followed by scattered lawn furniture and umbrellas on the other side of the entrance walkway. Across the driveway, friendly rescue dogs frolic around in the vineyards and welcome visitors who wish to enjoy a glass of wine in the center of the vineyard. The small cottage-turned tasting room, or as they call it The Wine Stand, features a screened in porch with two large tables and a tasting bar. The reason for this setup is to accommodate tasting seatings on the half and full hour. Guests are grouped together and encouraged to socially enjoy the wine tasting and possibly enjoy some of the food that is served on premicise. In the center of the reclaimed wooden table is a centerpiece surrounded by oyster shells inviting guests to sign their names and leave them as part of Dog and Oysters guestbook. Tastings run $7 and include around 5 wines – all of which are made from estate fruit, as we were told in our tasting. Next to the outside of the tasting room, the friendly Byrd’s Seafood Company is serving up oysters raw, oysters grilled, oyster tacos and sausage and pepper sandwiches to pair with your wine, enjoy out on the lawn or in the vineyard. Just behind the tasting room is the quaint gift shop where you can take home bottles of Dog and Oyster wine or other wine related nick-nacks that they have in stock. Overall, for the size of the winery (which does most of their winemaking and processing off site for now), they have plenty to offer for visitors looking to enjoy the seabreeze and untouched beauty. During warmer months, visitors can also stop by the Irvington Farmers Market on their way to or from the winery to grab some art or fresh produce.

 

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As for our early September visit, we opted for the tasting to be paired with a dozen of Byrd’s grilled oysters topped with pesto, which was a grand slam. The first white on the tasting menu was the 2013 Oyster White (100% Chardonel; $25), which offered a wafting nose full of candied tree fruit. The palate added in notes of crisp apple that intensified along with fresh, juicy acidity and led you to the lengthy, clean and medium bodied finish. We concluded the white wines with a tasting of the 2013 Pearl (100% Vidal Blanc; $25), which showed off ripe tropical fruit character, notably pineapple, that was ushered along the off-dry, mineral backbone finishing smooth and seductive with hints of white stone fruit on the crisp finish. It was my favorite white of the two, for sure. Bridging the gap from white to red is the 2014 Rosie ($28), which by appears to be a rose, but combines 25% tank bled Merlot and blended with 75% Vidal Blanc. To the eye, this wine offers a gorgeous pale pink hue with tame, masked red berry flavors tapering off smoothly and adding in a kiss of citrus zest while finishing subtle. We began the red portion of the tasting with the 2013 Shelter Dog Red (100% Chambourcin, $28), which packs plenty of expressive dark berry and spice characteristics and picks up a punchy black cherry flavor mid-palate that is outlined by spice driven tannins and a medium body weight. My favorite red of the two, but not discounting the 2013 Merlot (100% Merlot; $33). The Merlot is unique and showing off depth as it led by a nose of sandalwood and odd hints of coconut. The palate brings layers of black licorice, tart raspberries and mellow tannins that conclude with ripe flavors of dark plum for good measure. Overall, a decent wine line-up for a relatively new winery, that unlike many in the state of Virginia, produce their own crop. The environment was gorgeous and reminded me very much so of visiting Cape Cod by the decor and overall atmosphere. I highly recommend stopping by The Dog and Oyster Vineyard and explore some of the gems that this great state has to offer! Be sure to mention that you read about them on the Virginia Pour House Blog.

 

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The Dog and Oyster Vineyards

170 White Fences Drive

Irvington, VA 22480

www.dogandoyster.com

My first visit to Dog and Oyster was about 3 years ago when the property first began welcoming visitors in their beach cottage style tasting room. For years before the tasting room, the property itself attracted visitors to the 6 room and 10 cottage Hope and Glory Inn. With the Inn's addition of 6 acres of Vinifera and French American Hybrid vines (Vidal Blanc, Chardonel, Merlot, and Charmbourcin), the Dog and Oyster Vineyard began to take shape. Originally prevented, due to local regulations, from posting a large sign for visitors to come across in their travels through the town of Irvington,…

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