Virginia has well over 100 wineries. I know, I know, you’re thinking “What? Virginia has wineries?!” Yes indeedy they do. Just because their wines aren’t sold internationally (or nationally for that matter) like those out of California doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And if you’re that shocked about wineries in Virginia wait until I start extolling the virtues of Michigan wine! But the point being, yes, wine in Virginia.
Our favorite winery is located in the village of Lucketts, VA. Tarara, which got its name from the mountain Ararat on which Noah’s Arc landed, is a beautiful 475 acres of grapes established in 1985 and produces fifteen amazing wines. Several weeks ago we visited to both stock up on wine (because you cannot buy it off the winery) and take part in the fun of their annual fall festival. Every Autumn they have a festival including wine tasting, hay rides, you pick fruit, music, lost of food, and vendors with crafts and arts. First thing when we got there was to start the tasting process but then we all dived into the food! Everything from Greek to sausages, hot dogs, burgers, and crab cakes was there.
After our bellies were filled we wandered around the vendors, did some shopping, found a vendor with a fantastic sparkling cider (I think all told we bought a dozen bottles of that alone!), and enjoyed the adorable young step dancers. We also participated in our favorite part of the festival (well, favorite other than the wine that is) which is the grape stomping competition! Lauren and I won it hands down the last time we were there. Sadly we didn’t win this time and I’d like to blame it on the new rules they had going on this year…in fact, yes, I will blame it on the new rules. We were robbed!! Still, was fun, and messy, and squishy. My regret, other than the not winning, is the last time we did this it was cold out and I swear we were stomping frozen grapes, but this time when it was blazing hot and we would have appreciated frozen grapes we didn’t get them.
Still and all, it was a good day and I walked away with a huge bag of the world’s best kettle corn and I think nine or so bottles of wine (and three bottles of cider). While Lauren and I have fairly different tastes in wine, she prefers red and I prefer anything not overly dry, we both highly recommend them. If you can’t make it to Lucketts you can buy online-they ship to a number of states. We, I believe, would recommend their: Meritage, Wild River Red, Charval, Viognier, and Cameo. They also have a very drinkable Chardonnay and Merlot. In fact, we do not recommend drinking Merlot unless it comes from Tarara-the folks from the movie Sideways weren’t kidding when they had Paul Giamatti’s character exclaiming: “No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”