Wineries

Berry Hill Vineyard; Could this be our last visit to Berry Hill?

A few weeks back, I was going through my wine cellar and noticed a bottle of Berry Hill Cabernet Franc from 2010. I remember it being palate shocking and absolutely outstanding from the nose to the finish, and it got me thinking that it has been a while since we all visited Dave at the vineyard. Coincidentally, I received a note from Kurt at WineAboutVA explaining that Dave was selling his house and vineyard so we needed to plan a final visit. Kurt put in the call to Dave and, voila, our last trip to Berry Hill Vineyards was planned. As I mentioned in last year’s visit, Dave Hilty is retired and started making wine as a hobby and for gifts until the tremendous success erupted into a full blown winery operation out of his garage. With just about 2 acres of grapes on the property, a portion of which is …

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Wisdom Oak Winery; Raise your glass to peace and quiet in Charlottesville (Yes, REALLY)

A fall review from AmericanWineryGuide as I covered Wisdom Oak Winery (Formerly Sugarleaf Vineyards) in the Charlottesville area. “As you spot the new Wisdom Oak Winery sign, planted where the former Sugarleaf Vineyards sign stood, you will find yourself traveling up a gravel, single lane road that appears to be the road to nowhere. As the trees clear and the farm house converted to tasting room, outlined by the 4 acres of vines in the background, appears, you instantly release a sigh of relief and can truly take a step back to admire the beauty of the Wisdom Oak grounds. Owner Jerry Bias purchased the property over a decade ago then under the Sugarleaf banner, but changed the name early in 2013 to commemorate the opening of the new tasting room. The property sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and presents guests with gorgeous views and the …

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2014 Virginia Wine Blogger Petit Verdot Blind Tasting at Casanel Vineyards

Since my first Blind Tasting years back, I have developed a love for this unbiased format of tasting your way through multiple varieties of the same wine from various producers. Blind tastings really provide tasters the ability to try wine without judging based on producer, price, or reputation because, well, it’s blind. My goal is to assemble groups of fellow bloggers, industry folks, and wine enthusiasts to take part in multiple blind tasting events to assist in unbiasedly pointing out some of Virginia’s standouts. During certain blind tastings, we may toss a couple of wild cards in there from other viticultural areas outside of Virginia to see where Virginia stands blindly against other producers throughout the world. One of the first events we held this year  was this blind Petit Verdot tasting, which was graciously hosted by Katie and the wonderful folks at Casanel Vineyards in Leesburg, Virginia. We originally …

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Pippin Hill Farm and Winery; Gorgeous Views for a Relaxing Afternoon or Blow Out Event

This past fall offered several great opportunities to taste our way through Charlottesville, Virginia. One of the most gorgeous wineries in the area (that I have attempted to visit multiple times, but narrowly missed the opportunity due to private events) is Pippin Hill Farm Winery. Nestled at the mouth of the Blue Ridge Mountains that seem to open up at the front steps of the Farm Winery presenting gorgeous panoramic views outlined by the most gorgeous landscapes in and around Charlottesville. I honestly can not recall a day that I have stopped by the winery where there was not a wedding being set up or underway. The grounds feature hillsides lined with vines, gorgeous gardens, and impeccable landscapes surrounding the winery and events center welcoming each patron with a tranquil and scenic tasting experience. As you pull into the rotary style parking lot, cars, buses, and often limos crowd all …

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Ramulose Ridge Vineyards; A New Venture on Smith Mountain Lake

A new review on Ramulose Ridge Vineyards for AmericanWineryGuide! Check out an excerpt below, with the extended tasting notes just below that, and the full photo spread on our FaceBook Page (www.facebook.com/vapourhouse)! Enjoy! “A few weeks back, my fiance and I headed down to meet her family and family friends at Smith Mountain Lake. The car was packed with our belongings and, of course, a case of local wine. As we made our way down Route 29, we noticed a few wineries that I had yet to visit, including a couple close by Smith Mountain Lake. One was Hickory Hill and the other was not on any Virginia Wine maps. As it clearly had just opened to the public weeks ago, there was this gorgeous property greeting visitors with its steel carved sign bearing the name “Ramulose Ridge Vineyards.” After talking it over with the little lady, we agreed that we would swing by …

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Cooper Vineyards; Green Has It’s Advantages in Virginia

A new review on Cooper Vineyards for AmericanWineryGuide! Check out an excerpt below, with the extended tasting notes just below that, and the full photo spread on our FaceBook Page (www.facebook.com/vapourhouse)! Enjoy! “Cooper Vineyards first opened its doors in 1999, producing a whopping 250 cases of wine. During the last fifteen years, the winery has expanded production to almost 6,000 cases and has increased its property from 36 acres to 150 acres – 15 of which are covered with vines. Approximately half of winemaker Graham Bell’s wines are produced from estate-grown grapes with the rest being produced from grapes obtained from other nearby vineyards. Cooper Vineyards relies almost exclusively on Virginia Oak wine barrels and has finalized and opened their new Gold/Platinum LEED Certified tasting room and events facility. This gorgeous facility contains a 35 foot, curved, concrete tasting bar (think classy polished concrete), wood pellet fireplace for those winter …

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Gabriele Rausse Winery; If you’re not familiar, you need to be

When holding a casual conversation with anyone who has a hand or two in the Virginia Wine Industry, you can inquire as to their opinion of who are the big names when it comes to producing good wine in the state. Many will ramble off names such as Jim Law, Luca Paschina, and Michael Shaps due to their respective reputation of either producing good wines or consulting for a large portion of new vineyard startups in Virginia. However, there is a name missing in that list – Gabriele Rausse. Many people do not realize that when Gabriele first came to the United States, he landed his first vineyard job stateside with fellow countryman Gianni Zonin and his new startup, Barboursville Vineyards, in April of 1976. Prior to that, Gabriele had completed his University studies in his home country of Italy and began working for Santa Margherita until he enlisted in …

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Jefferson Vineyards; A Monticello Dream Come True

Jefferson Vineyards was first planted on land brokered by Thomas Jefferson to Florentine Viticulturist Filipo Mazzei with the hopes of Filipo’s assistance to help progress Jefferson’s dream of native grown wine grape in 1774. Following the Revolutionary War, no vines were seen on the property until 1981 when Jefferson’s dream became a reality. Now with 30 years of experience and a yearly production of roughly 6,000 to 8,000 cases, this modest farm winery produces around 9 varieties supplied by close to 23 acres of vines in the Monticello area of Central Virginia. This quaint property leads you to their tasting room by the paved road leading to the gravel drive and displays some of their oldest plantings to the right of the dirt entrance. Straight ahead, there is a large barn that holds their production facility and events room. After we exited the vehicle, we snapped a quick picture by …

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Bogati Bodega & Vineyard; No Quarter Water at this Bodega

Ladies and Gents, we have a new review just posted on AmericanWineryGuide.com provided by Virginia Pour House, covering Bogati Bodega & Vineyard. Enjoy a preview below with the full article link at the bottom! “Bogati yields around 3,000 cases per year, and they boast a members-only Black Label wine club with exclusive club discounts and members-only wines. Tastings are $5 for the six wine flight or $20 for the paired tasting that consists of six wines paired with charcuterie, cheeses, gourmet pizza, or handmade empanadas. On this particular afternoon, the traditional tasting would suffice. We chose the right time to visit, arriving just after the rush which allowed us a one-on-one experience with the tasting room staff. We began the tasting with the 2011 Bogati Seyval Blanc ($19), which tends to be a very acidic, tart wine in my experiences in Virginia. This particular Seyval displayed intense citrus fruit but …

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Hillsborough Vineyards; A spectacular view from atop Route 9

A brand new review of Hillsborough Vineyards on AmericanWineryGuide that I just finished up! Here is a quick sneak peak and the link to the full article below! “Founded by Zeynep and Bora Baki and their two boys, Hillsborough was a hobby that became a winery when Bora decided to retire to the tranquil hills of Loudoun Valley after 23 years as a successful entrepreneur. Hillsborough consists of 13 acres of vines divided over three plots of land. Planted varieties include: Petit Verdot, Tannat, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the French variety Fer Servadou; Hillsborough is one of the only vineyards in Virginia to grow this grape. Over thirty-six aces make up Hillsboroughs property and surround the tasting room where visitors will enjoy the pictureque view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and one of the best views of the Northern Virginia countryside. Pulling off Route 9, a winding driveway leads …

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