Heart of Virginia Wine Trail – HOVA

The Heart of Virginia Wine Trail is one of my favorite wine trails to visit. I have done this trail at least seven times now. This wine trail is the closest one to Richmond so it makes for a fun weekend activity! You can buy your passport online or at any of the participating wineries and it is just $20 per passport. Included with the passport is a tasting at each winery and a commemorative HOVA wine glass. The value is pretty remarkable since tasting prices vary from $7-10 dollars per winery. I suggest going during a passport weekend like the Chili and Wine Cook off. The Chili Cook Off is my favorite because you get a tasting and a bowl a chili at each location!

Another awesome thing these wineries do are host festivals. My favorite one to attend is the April Fools Wine Festival at James River Cellars. The same participating wineries come to James River where you pay the price of admission and sample wine from all wineries in one location. This is a great option instead of driving to all the different wineries!

  • Where: James River Cellars
  • When: April 6th and 7th ~ Noon – 5PM
  • Cost: General Admission: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, Enhanced Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the gate
    • With the enhanced ticket you get to enter the festival an hour early (11 AM) to enjoy the wine without the lines. You also get a tour of JRC’s new cellar with the owner, Mitzi! The tour will take place at 11:45 AM.

There are five wineries that participate in the trail/festivals:

James River Cellars Winery – Please see my entire post about JRC HERE! As some of you know, I work for JRC as a tasting attendant. I absolutely love learning and talking about wine to our customers! Please read the above post to learn more about James River Cellars!

Mattaponi Winery – Mattaponi is always such a treat! They often have fun pairings you can do with the traditional tasting. These parings often enhance the wine and make the tasting more interactive. My favorite is their cheesecake pairing, uhmmm delish! They have a lot of fruit wine and are known for their delicious strawberry wine, Odeimin. This wine often sells out as soon as it is released! I enjoy their Chambourcin, Tibik-Kizismin- Blueberry and their Sangria!

Lake Anna Winery – Lake Anna is a pretty popular spot, especially for the locals. Every time I go, it is always busy and they usually always have live music on the weekends. I really enjoy their Spotsylvania Claret – it is a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc and Chambourcin. If your up near Lake Anna, it is definitely worth the visit!

53rd Winery & Vineyards – AKA Cooper. This is always the first winery I recommend to people! I have been coming to this winery for the past seven years and I am obsessed. Their tasting room is stunning and there is a beautiful porch to sit and enjoy wine. Their wine list is extensive and I love so many. My favorites include their Chardonel, Rose, Petit Verdot and Shannon Hill Red. I always pack a picnic so we can enjoy a bottle and the view of the vineyard.

Grayhaven – I recently blogged about Goochland wineries and this one made the list. They are also part of HOVA! Talk about a fun tasting! Deon, the winemaker is a hoot. This winery is so unique because they specialize in small batch production. They bottle nearly once a week so each time you visit, it is likely that you will taste something new. Their list generally has 4-7 wines you can taste. Don’t miss out on their South African Food and Wine Festival. The festival is held every September and features wines and wine makers straight from South Africa! I had the BEST time this past September! I encourage you to go and sit at their bar, order a cheese plate, enjoy a glass, and chat! P.S. their mulled wine is to dieeeeee for!

Some info on HOVA

You do not need to complete the trail in one day. Once you complete your ticket, turn it in! Your ticket goes into a drawing where you can win wine from the participating wineries!

*Sips and Trips Tip – The order of the wineries is the order I would drive if I was completing the trail in one day!

There you have it! A look into what HOVA is and all the wineries that participate! I strongly suggest you buy your passport or attend the April Fools Festival and enjoy these wineries, you will not be sorry!

Cheers, Paige


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