Discover Historic Vines and New Roots in Charlottesville, Virginia | Wine Enthusiast
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Discover Historic Vines and New Roots in Charlottesville, Virginia

“Summertime is the perfect season to admire the rolling green hills of the Monticello Wine Trail and explore the trail’s unique culinary and entertainment experiences.”

Summer is quickly approaching—now is the time to start planning a wine getaway to Charlottesville, Virginia, Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Region of the Year. Located just two and half hours southwest of Washington, D.C., the picturesque area is home to the Monticello American Viticultural Area (AVA) and award-winning wineries. With its numerous tasting rooms, family-friendly experiences and an exciting culinary scene, Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County make for a wonderful summer escape.

The Charlottesville region’s viticultural history runs deep. As far back as 1770’s, Thomas Jefferson envisioned stretches of vineyards at his Monticello estate. Today, visionary producers continue to push boundaries in this thoroughly modern region. From winemaking techniques to grape varieties, a spirit of experimentation imbues their work. Collaboration is also a key element to the region’s success; winemakers freely share ideas and propel each other to greater heights.

Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot are just a few of the red wine grapes that make their home in the vineyards, along with Petit Manseng, Chardonnay, Viognier and a roster of other whites. These varieties are used to produce a wide array of bottles that include rosé, sparkling and dessert wines. With this sort of diversity, paired with the region’s ability to produce terroir-driven wines, it is no wonder the Charlottesville area receives such high accolades.

Wine Experiences and More

Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s natural landscape, set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is stunning and its Monticello Wine Trail boasts more than 40 wineries. Summertime is the perfect season to admire the rolling green hills and explore the trail’s unique culinary and entertainment experiences.

Every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend through October, King Family Vineyards hosts polo matches at their Roseland Farm. Free and open to the public, guests can purchase wine, enjoy fare from various food trucks and watch horses and riders gallop around the field while picnicking with a bottle of wine. Their 2019 Meritage is a top pick—it won the 2024 Virginia Governor’s Cup, the state’s annual premiere wine competition.

Meanwhile, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards is the region’s self-proclaimed “culinary vineyard,” which only hints at the delicious experiences guests can enjoy. Whether it’s a vineyard tour followed by a wine and food pairing, cooking classes or a seasonal wine dinner, food and wine go hand-in-hand at this winery.

Though the wine experiences are world-class, family-friendly offerings in particular make Charlottesville’s wine country stand out from other regions. At Keswick Vineyards, kids can play a round of miniature golf while adults taste through the winery’s offerings in a build-your-own flight.

Of course, music lovers will want to check out Blenheim Vineyards, established in 2000 by musician Dave Matthews. More than just a mecca for carefully crafted wines, the winery is home to Oenoverse, an organization that aims to create a more diverse wine industry through inclusive events. Every fall, Oenoverse hosts Two Up, Wine Down, a wine festival in downtown Charlottesville that spotlights BIPOC winemakers.

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Where to Sip and Sleep

Hospitality is at the heart of the Charlottesville area’s wine culture and numerous accommodations are available to make visitors feel a warm Southern welcome.

The Inn at Stinson Vineyards, located amidst the vines, bills itself as a modern bed and breakfast. Guests get exclusive access to the Inn’s fine-dining restaurant and are invited to greet each morning with a three-course breakfast.

Barboursville Vineyards is one of the wineries credited with starting Virginia’s modern wine renaissance. Founded in 1976 by Gianni Zonin of Italy’s Zonin family, the estate is known for its Italian varieties as well as Bordeaux blends. Those European-inspired wines pair flawlessly with the Italian cuisine served at their on-site restaurant, Palladio. And the on-site cottages are just as luxurious.

In addition to these vineyard estates, Albemarle County is home to numerous inns, resorts, well-known hotel groups.

KING FAmily Vineyards

There are many resources available to help visitors plan an unforgettable trip to Charlottesville and Albemarle County. For detailed information on the region, request or download the Visitor Guide or sign up for the e-Newsletter to stay up-to-date on the newest events and offerings.

Start planning your summer getaway today at