With the Valley now turning a luscious shade of green and folks itching to get out and explore in the wake of winter, it’s the perfect time to spend a day (or a weekend, or a week!) experiencing the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail. While not the first place most think of when they think of wine, the Shenandoah Valley is quickly becoming synonymous with excellence in the wine world. A new favorite place to grow grapes, the rolling hills of the region help drain water and protect the vines from frost, making the terrain an excellent spot to grow many of the great European wine-grape varietals. As the region’s wine making potential continues to garner attention, and with an increasing number of Virginia produced wines making waves at national competitions and in eateries around the nation, there’s never been a better time to get in on the action.
There are numerous wineries within an hour’s drive of Harrisonburg, but two of the closest are Crosskeys Vineyard and Bluestone Vineyard. Crosskeys, with its gorgeous dual view of Massanutten and the distant Blue Ridge, is one of the area’s more popular vineyards. Having first opened its tasting room in 2008, the location has since expanded to become a hotspot wedding venue, classy summer dining option, and host to fun events like Salsa Under the Stars and even yoga classes.
Bluestone, a younger but rapidly growing winery set just south of Bridgewater, has gained attention with its line-up of boutique wines. Up to this point a lovely spot to stop and enjoy and tasting on a weekend afternoon, they are soon to be expanding their offerings with the brand new “Meeting House,” able to hold nearly 300 persons and available for weddings, dinners, showers, and other events. The building is slated to open in June.
While these two vineyards are worth the visit, there are so many more, more than I can even begin to list. A great way to get a sense of the scope of the Virginia wine scene is to download the VinoWine app, which marks all the various vineyards on a map, and allows you to check them off as you visit. So get your map, get your app, and get out there!