Spring is the perfect time for a drive through the dogwoods and a visit to one of Virginia’s welcoming wineries. With more than 200 wineries in nine regions and six American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s), Virginia was named one of the world’s “Top 10 Wine Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast. Most of Virginia’s vineyards and wineries also welcome four-legged visitors, and several host special events for canines or feature pet-friendly accommodations and amenities. Virginia’s wine trails are designed on popular routes that highlight the state’s natural beauty and historic attractions. Here are five favorites for a fun spring outing:
Milepost 171.5, Blue Ridge Pkwy., Meadows of Dan. Phone: (540) 593-2865
Free tours; tastings are $8 per person.
There are black dogs everywhere at Chateau Morrisette—on the grounds, in the tasting room and on the wine labels. One of the largest wineries in the state, this winery not only welcomes dogs, but also supports animal organizations with special events like adoption days and through donations from its line of Service Dog wines. Dogs are welcome on the grounds and in the tasting room and gift shop (there’s some great pup stuff!). They also have a kennel onsite if you want to relax over lunch in their excellent restaurant. If you visit during the summer or fall, try to catch one of the their wine and music festivals or a free concert on Sunday afternoons.
9232 Chatham Rd., Machipongo. Phone: (757) 678-5588
Free tours; tastings are $3 per person.
Chatham (pronounced chat-em) was named after William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham and has been a working farm for more than 400 years. The red brick Federalstyle house was built in 1818 and overlooks Church Creek. Two generations of the Wehner family have put their expertise into the award-winning Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot vines. Tastings often include pairings of Chardonnay with two varieties (bay and sea) of locally-harvested Shooting Point Oysters. You’re sure to get a warm welcome from Wilbur, the winery’s official canine greeter.
500 DelFosse Winery Ln., Faber. Phone: (434) 263-6100
Tastings are $5 per person.
Located near Charlottesville, DelFosse is known for its Petit Verdot and Viognier. One of the coolest things about this vineyard is its pet-friendly log cabin (once the original tasting room) for overnight stays…you have your own wine bar on the deck overlooking the vineyards!
5872 Leedstown Rd., Oak Grove. Phone: (804) 224-8687
Free tours; tastings are $8 per person and includes a souvenir glass .
One of Virginia’s oldest wineries, Ingleside has won the Virginia Governor’s Cup several times, as well as national and international awards. Taste several of the varieties made from estate-grown grapes, from viognier to sangiovese and cabernet franc. Visit the museum featuring antique wine bottles, Native American artifacts and Chesapeake waterfowl decoys. Or, relax with a glass of wine in the European-style courtyard. Four-legged visitors are welcome on the grounds and in the courtyard.
1575 Keswick Winery Dr., Keswick. Phone: (434) 244-3341
Every Sunday from the beginning of April to the end of October, Keswick hosts a Yappy Hour to benefit local animal rescue groups. Dogs are allowed in the tasting room, but Keswick also offers outdoor tastings so your pooch can socialize while you sip. A recent addition of a fenced dog park lets your dogs run off-leash and play while you relax with a glass of wine.
For more information on Virginia’s wine regions, AVAs, trails and wineries visit virginiawine.org.
This article was originally published in our Spring 2015 print issue.