Posted by: runningwinegirl | March 3, 2011

My Top 20 Virginia Wineries – with a twist

It’s been far too long since I’ve written and I apologize for that. I’ve missed writing but following a car accident, being laid off and recently moving, life has kept me busy. I haven’t stopped my wine adventures and will miss having easy access to Virginia wineries. However, upon reading my friend @drinkwhatulike Top 20 VA wine post and seeing that a couple other bloggers posted their top 20, I felt this was a great time for me to get back to my blog.

I love top 20 kinds of lists and it’s no secret I have my favorite Virginia wineries. But it’s hard to put them in a certain order because I love different things about each. With that said, I’m posting my top 20 based on not only the wines I love but also the experiences each offered. I’ll post my top six and the rest are in no specific order. I have so many wineries still to visit but for now, I’m thankful for the wonderful times I had at the following vineyards.

Suzie’s Top Six:

1.    Chateau O’Brien – This shouldn’t be a surprise. I love everything about this winery and have had so many awesome times here from wine tastings to Howard’s birthday party. You can’t beat the reds winemaker Jason Murray is making and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the Petit Verdot and Malbec I tasted this past winter.

2.    Gray Ghost Vineyards – A consistent stop after hiking Old Rag up in Shenandoah National Park. I love the reds but you can’t beat the Adieu for a well-balanced desert wine. I enjoy the Civil War history, upstairs couches and there’s a wine here for all palates.

3.    Stone Mountain Vineyards – 1700ft above sea level with gorgeous mountain views and vineyards. I have so many happy memories at this winery. I first tasted the wines at Vintage Virginia and was impressed with everything. I prefer reds but loved the Rose. The Cabernet Sauvignon hands down is my favorite followed by the Malbec.

4.    Tarara Winery – I’ll never forget meeting winemaker Jordan Harris in person at a wine festival. I first connected with him on and he’s doing amazing things at Tarara. Jordan always educates me on wine and I can’t learn enough. Tarara is producing some of the best reds and whites in the state. I can’t wait for the next release of his Syrah.

5.    Breaux Vineyards – This is the first winery I visited in Virginia. When Jen Breaux Blosser invited me to my first ever vertical tasting at the winery, I discovered just how good the wines are here. You can’t beat the Key West Festival & this is truly a special place.

6.    Pearmund Cellars – What can I say, Chris Pearmund is a blast! I’ve been fortunate to barrel sample so many wines and I’ve had so many great times here. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Ameritage are standards for me when visiting.

Here are 14 more top favorites:

Gadino Cellars – Another favorite post Old Rag hiking stop. I love the Cabernet Franc here.

Delaplane Cellars – One of the newer wineries in VA and it speaks to my love of full-bodied red wines. I love the Sunset Saturdays, views and what winemaker Jim Dolphin is doing.

Hume Vineyards – Another newbie and I’m so happy I got here before moving. I loved every wine I tasted and it was hard to not buy multiple bottles. They offer two reds worth laying down.

Philip Carter Winery – Wine maker Rob Cox is raising the bar here and I love the Cleve and Cabernet Franc. Of course I’m highlighting reds but this winery offers many delicious whites. I had so much fun at the tweet-up held last summer.

Three Fox Vineyards – Baxter’s favorite winery! Need I say more? This is dog friendly, has one of the best outdoor tasting bars, a gorgeous setting and a Sangiovese I can’t get enough of =)

Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn – The first winery that offered bites of food to taste with the wine. My brother and I loved it all along with the views. His favorite was the Sauvignon Blanc and I loved the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Unicorn Vineyards – Another I was inspired to visit following tasting the wines at Vintage Virginia. I love the Cab Franc and you can’t beat the wine slushies on a hot summer day.

Mountfair Vineyards – How can I not love a vineyard with a wine that has a sexy, fun name like Wooloomooloo =) I can’t wait for the next vintage of its release but I loved every red this winery offers.

Narmada Vineyards – This winery has a wonderful setup for musicians along with awesome Indian food and oh yes, delicious wines.

Dry Mill Vineyards – I’m sad I didn’t get back to this winery more than the one visit. I loved the wines, especially the Cabernet Franc and believe it or not, the Rose was delightful too.

Paradise Springs Winery – A winery easy for DC peeps to get to that offers some tasty wines. I love the 08 Norton and the cheddar cheese ball sold here is to die for =)

Rappahannock Cellars – Loved the Cabernet Sauvignon at this winery as well as the views outside on the deck.

Chrysalis Vineyards – I had so much fun working at the Annual Norton Wine and Bluegrass Festival last year. I love the wines, staff and its views. The Papillon and Tannat are my two favorites.

Linden Vineyards – This winery has a deck and views I love but I’m not a fan of the weekend rules. The wines are delicious and I’m a huge fan of the Hardscrabble Red.

I thank all of these wineries for wonderful memories and I will be back to visit! However, I’m very excited for the next adventures that await and will be exploring NY and surrounding areas. Already I’m seeing new wines in stores I haven’t had and couldn’t get in Virginia. I’m also almost fully healed from a severe hamstring strain and back on track to train for my half marathons and marathons. Stay tuned as the Running Wine Girl is coming back and I’m excited to get back to writing.



  1. Nice list of Virginia wineries.
    Here’s to new adventures!


    • Thank you! Yes cheers to new adventures!

  2. First time to read your VA wine recommendations. Do you have any ideas about wineries on th Northern Neck?

    • Thanks for reading my blog! As far as wineries on the Northern Neck, sadly while living in VA I didn’t get a chance to explore the Northern Neck but I looked into regardless. I plan to visit New Kent at some point. That’s one that’s been recommended to me multiple times. Check out my friends Paul and Warren’s blog – they were out that way this past summer. I tend to enjoy the same wines they do. Hope that helps!

  3. I can see that you value the whole combo of wine quality, personal experience and the setting/location .. I invite you to visit us out at DuCard Vineyards and am hopeful / confident we’ll make your list too !

    • Thanks Scott! I made it to DuCard but it was a quick visit. Gorgeous Winery. I would love to get back to taste. Hoping to plan a trip this summer and will let you know. Cheers!

  4. Really interesting post. Know very little of this region, great photos too.

    • Hey! Thank you! Virginia is unknown to many but doing great things in wine. I just visited your blog and enjoyed what I read. I love Italian wines!

  5. Hey!
    Great blog. Can you recommend three wineries for me to visit that are close together and fun for a birthday party?? Thanks so much!

    • Thank you Rachel! Since I’m not sure where you are here are a couple of suggestions to look into:

      Breaux Vineyards, Tarara Winery and Sunset Hills – These are all in Loudon county and I’ve actually gone to all three in one day easily. Breaux is my favorite but all will handle a crowd and offer a range of wines for all palates. If you want to venture down 66, Chateau O’Brien is a must followed by Philip Carter and then Hume.

      Also along Rt. 66 and before Chateau O’Brian is Aspen Dale and Delaplane Cellars. Delaplane is past the road you’d take to Aspen Dale so I’d start at Delaplane and end at Aspen Dale. If it’s a warm day, stop at Three Fox which you can’t miss. Three Fox is a summer stop for me as they have one of the best outdoor tasting bars.

      If you want to venture a totally different direction, Gray Ghost, Narmada and Gadino Cellars are three great ones too. Start at Gadino as it’s the farthest so best to start there and then head up to Naramada and Gray Ghost. You can’t go wrong with Gray Ghost as there is a wine for all palates and the upstairs is so comfy and perfect entertaining if its chilly. The outside is perfect otherwise. I hope that helps you a little and have fun and stay safe!

  6. Hi Runningwinegirl, I’m enjoying your blog and thought you might be able to help me get the word out about a product I’ve designed with wine lovers in mind. It’s Lightfoot’s Original Winecrate Birdhouse/Gift Box. If you have a moment check them out on Facebook under Lightfoot’s Creative Carpentry Shop or and let me know your impression. Thanks a bunch,

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