Ankida Ridge Vineyards

Happy New Year! I took a mini break from posting and I hope to be back to regular blog content for 2021. I have so many goals when it comes to Sips and Trips with Paige and I hope to bring you amazing content this year! Before I dive in, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you! I appreciate every single reader and I am so grateful for you!

Today I wanted to share my experience at Ankida Ridge Vineyards. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Ankida with some amazing industry peeps and wow, I was blown away by the wine and the views! You have probably heard of Ankida, they have been getting a lot of press on their amazing Pinot Noir. You heard me right, a Virginia winery is making Pinot Noir, and it’s AMAZING. Ankida has been on my Virginia Winery Bucket List for some time and I am so glad I finally got to cross it off.

So, let’s dive in! Ankida Ridge is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains located in Amherst County. The owners, Christine and Dennis, bought the property back in 1999 with the intention of it being a retirement retreat. They had no plan of starting a vineyard, but serendipitous events fell into place and voila! They currently have 6 acres under vine — Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gamay with a very small production of 1,000 cases. The vineyard site is at 1800ft elevation with steep SE aspect and the soil is rocky which helps the vines. Since the site is of higher elevation, the weather is 5-10 degrees cooler than the floor, there are not many days above 90 degrees, and they rarely get storms. Another positive thing is that they rarely get frost because the vineyard is planted on the side of the mountain. Their son, Nathan, is the winemaker at Ankida and he is married to Rachel, the winemaker, at Stinson Vineyards. When you visit, you’ll likely see sheep, chicken, and cats roaming the vineyard — Ankida practices sustainable viticulture, intervening as little as possible in disease and pest management by using farm animals to assist in that practice.

Now let’s talk Pinot Noir and Virginia. Pinot Noir vines tend to grow best with long, cool growing seasons because the grape prefers the sun over heat. The soil is also important when it comes to Pinot Noir and Ankida’s site sits on rocky granite soil which creates deep-rooted vines. With that being said, Pinot Noir doesn’t really grow in Virginia. According to the 2019 Virginia Grape Report, there are 33 bearing acres of Pinot Noir planted. You need the perfect vineyard site to produce outstanding Pinot Noir in Virginia.

2010 Pinot Noir

Wines Tasted:

  • Ankida Ridge Brut 2017 – This sparkling is made with Ankida Chardonnay grapes along with Chardonnay grapes sourced from another Amherst County vineyard. This sparkling was made in the traditional method and was fresh and delicious.
  • Ankida Ridge Chardonnay 2017 – I am super picky about Chard and I loved this one! This one had pear and apple notes with a hint of creaminess. The acid really balanced out the creaminess!
  • Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir 2018 – I love Pinot Noir and I am so excited to finally enjoy one from Virginia! This wine had a ton of red fruit on the nose with a long fruity finish.
  • Rockgarden Vert 2019 – The Rockgarden label is wine made with sourced grapes. Vert is a spritzy Vinho Verde style wine that is made with Vidal Blanc. This was a delicious wine that would make a perfect summer sipper.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting or trying these wines, I highly suggest a visit to Ankida! I really don’t have too many wine trips planned this winter, but I hope to get some on the calendar soon. Are there any wineries you have been dying to visit lately?

Cheers, Paige