There are few locales this provide a more romantic setting than a vineyard. With plump grapes hanging heavily from lush vines, the picturesque backdrop creates a memorable outing for lovebirds. And the Monticello Wine Trail, known as the Birthplace of American Wine due to Thomas Jefferson’s early winemaking attempts in the region, bursts with an array of boutique wineries. Here are some of the Monticello Wine Trail’s most exceptional wineries:
- Blenheim Vineyards – Located 20 minutes southeast of Charlottesville, Blenheim Vineyards uses seven varieties of grapes in the production of their high-quality wines. The winery produces nearly a dozen red and white wines, including Viognier, Cabernet Franc, and Rose. Their environmentally-friendly winery contains a glass-floored tasting room which allows visitors to peer into the wine production facility underneath. Blenheim offers daily wine tastings for $5 per person. The winery offers a variety of classes and special events, such as the End of Harvest Pig Roast and a Wine Tasting Class. Tickets are available for purchase at blenheimvineyards.com.
- Trump Winery – Situated on 1,000 acres in Charlottesville, Trump Winery is located only a few miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Like Jefferson, Trump Winery focuses on producing wines inspired by the French regions of Bordeaux and Champagne. The winery uses innovative techniques to produce blended red wines from hand-picked and sorted grapes. They age these red blends in French Oak barrels for over a year. The Trump tasting room offers picturesque views of the vineyard’s rolling hills. The outdoor terrace offers a menu of meat and cheese trays in addition to seasonal offerings such as artisan sandwiches and lasagna. Wine tastings are offered daily for $8.
- First Colony Winery – Established in 2000, First Colony Winery is located 10 miles from Charlottesville, in southern Albemarle County. Its gently rolling hills and fields of vines produce ten varieties, including Chardonnay and Red Dessert Wine. The winery encourages groups of less than ten to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy alongside their First Colony wine. Tastings are offered daily for a fee of $5, though the tasting fee is waived for two people if they purchase three or more bottles of wine.
- Prince Michel – Now in its 30th year of operation, Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery is one of the largest wineries on the east coast. They produce numerous award-winning wines in varieties such as Tres Bien and Merlot. In addition to free self-guided tours, Prince Michel offers luxurious one-bedroom suites for overnight accommodation. These French provincial suites feature fireplaces and gorgeous vineyard and mountain views.
- Flying Fox Vineyard – Located in Nelson county, this family-run winery produces small-batch varieties such as Merlot and Petit Verdot. Their six and a half acre vineyard uses a combination of Smart-Dyson trellis and vertically shoot positioned trellis. The winery offers daily tastings for a fee of $5 and encourages visitors to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the property. Local artists exhibit their work in the Flying Fox tasting room.