The tradition of wine-making in Virginia has actually been around for centuries and was embraced by Jefferson and Washington. This agricultural field has long fascinated many farmers in the area, and as of 2019, there were over 250 wineries registered in the state of Virginia. One of the most popular activities in the area is to take a wine tour to a few of the best wineries. Even better, you and a group of friends can hire a chauffeured party bus to make the trip even more of an event!
A Start in Williamsburg
The Williamsburg Winery offers tours and tastings in small groups by appointment throughout the year. This facility also includes a restaurant where you can enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner.
Virginia is also horse country, and if you love horses a trip to the Gauthier Vineyard is a great idea. Grab a piece of pizza on Friday or Saturday, get oysters from nearby Winter Haven, or enjoy a plate of chicken wings with your wine choice.
Your planned wine tours can start in and around the city of Williamsburg, though you can hire party buses that offer a wine tour across the entire state of Virginia and nearby regions.
Dig Into the History
You can also take one of the three Monticello Wine Trail Tours, focused on the Charlottesville area. These wine tours may include a stop at the Jefferson Vineyards. This facility is located on the same ground where Thomas Jefferson and Philip Mazzei attempted to start a winery and actually had success growing grapes before the vines were destroyed by horses.
Luckily, you won’t need a saddle to view the wineries around Charlottesville; you can reserve one of the many party buses available and bring your friends along for a fun and socially distanced party.
Study the Soil and Weather Conditions
The state of Virginia offers remarkable topographical variety. From the shores of the Atlantic to the mountains at the western edge of the state, visitors to this region can enjoy a lot of variety with very little travel.
The Early Mountain Vineyard in Madison, VA is ideally suited to collect the weather generated by this topographical variety. This winery is straight east of Shenandoah National Forest and moistened by rain off of the Atlantic, though the coastal land offers the buffer of the Chesapeake Bay.
The soil of Charlottesville is ideally suited to many grape varieties, including
- petit verdot
- cabernet franc
At the Early Mountain Vineyard, they have begun to grow Malbec grapes, which they co-ferment with syrah.
Not Just Wine!
If wine isn’t your favorite beverage, you can still have a great time on a winery tour. Consider a tour that includes a trip to the Albemarle CiderWorks. The history of wine and cider in the state of Virginia goes hand in glove.
While modern shoppers may think of cider as a form of apple juice, original cider was a fermented beverage that served as one of the ways of preserving the many varieties of apples grown in the state. While apples are now a huge cash crop in the United States, it’s important to note that there were originally only two varieties of crabapple native to this nation.
Wine-Making and Cider Fermentation As Self-Sustaining Industry
In the early days of the agricultural boom of the state of Virginia, settlers knew that if they wanted a particular food or beverage, they had to
- grow it
- butcher it
- or ferment it
The ability to provide for your family meant that everyone had some farming skills, and each farmer was probably a maker of homemade wine and cider. The wineries of Virginia show how this agricultural specialization has allowed vintners to put this hearty soil to work for a new crop of wines specific to the region.
Wine is a regional treat. The wines that you’ll enjoy made of grapes grown in coastal Williamsburg will be very different than those grown inland around Charlottesville. Take a wine tasting tour on one of Williamsburg Chauffeur Services’ party buses to check out the many flavors of this remarkable tradition. Call us today to learn more about party bus rentals and our offered wine tours!