In the midst of October I had the chance to visit some wineries that have been on my bucket list for sometime. It was even more special to visit during Virginia Wine Month.
I know I am late to the game but Linden Vineyards has been on my list of Virginia Wineries to visit for years. Linden is known for making simple, yet traditional wines that allow the vineyard to speak. Some of my favorites included their 2017 Avenius Chardonnay, 2016 Claret, 2017 Hardscrabble Red, and the 2019 Wabi Sabi.
Linden is owned by Jim Law who also is the winemaker. He has quite the repuation in the Virginia wine scene and I was so happy to finally meet him and try his amazing wines.
Jim Law moved to the site in 1982, his first vines were planted in 1985, and the first harvest was in 1987. He now harvests grapes from three distinct sites but is most known for his Hardscrabble wines. Jim only uses neutral French oak (some are 20 years old) and produces 3,000-5,000 cases a year.
Just like Linden, Glen Manor Vineyards has quite the reputation. Glen Manor is located on a western flank of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The surrounding mountains, ranging between 1400 and 3400 feet in elevation, form a Glen which gives the vineyards a unique environment. The original six-acre vineyard was established in 1995. Over time, they have added new plantings on their mountainside bringing their total acreage under vine to 17. They have 7 different varietals planted and make 10 different wines.
I was fascinated to learn that the estate Glen Manor sits on has rich family history dating back to 1787. Jeff White, the current family member that manages the land is also the winemaker. Since the land and business have been a generational, Ashleigh White, Jeff’s niece is learning and working with the vines alongside her uncle.
Glen Manor Vineyards produces wines with a sense of place: the soils, the seasons, and the people who make these wines happen. They pride themselves with being low intervention and Old World in style. They have a small production of 2,500 cases a year. I was blown away with their 2019 dry Petit Manseng and their 2017 Petit Verdot.
After doing a deep dive on Virginia wine history for Virginia wine month, I was eager to visit Shenandoah Vineyards. Shenandoah was the 5th farm winery in Virginia, one of the original 6 that started the recovery in the 70s. They are currently the second oldest active winery in Virginia.
Shenandoah Vineyards was founded in 1796 by Jim and Emma Randel. The land had been in Emma’s family since the mid-1800s. Jim and Emma planted their first vines in 1976 and enjoyed over 4 decades of success. Michael Shaps purchased Shenandoah Vineyards in 2018 after working as their winemaking consultant for several years. According to Michael, Shenandoah is the driest county in Virginia and one of the driest east of the Mississippi River with ideal soil composition and optimal elevation.
You guys know I love my bubbles so we enjoyed a bottle of their SV Sparkling Rosé!
Our final and maybe my favorite (!) stop of the trip was Muse Vineyards. I heard a lot about Muse and I was eager to try their wine. Muse is nestled along the scenic North Fork of the Shenandoah River and among Shenandoah’s beautiful mountains. The tasting room is modern and casual, with tons of comfy seating options indoors and out. Muse also offers food Friday through Sunday and a limited menu on other days — you do not get the restaurant feel either! I loved how they were open late on a Friday so we could enjoy dinner and a bottle for our final stop. Next time I visit, I want to walk their 1.8 mile self-guided vineyard tour!
We enjoyed a bottle of their delicious Petit Verdot and paired it with the Slightly Spicy Pulled Pork and the Reuben on Rye with Chips. I was also a huge fan of their Gamay and Cabernet Franc.
Let me know which winery you want to visit first! Cheers, Paige