This was my second visit to Virginia’s Barboursville Vineyards. The first time I visited was many years ago in 2003, and I enjoyed the experience very much, so I was anxious to return 17 years later while visiting the Charlottesville area again. On my first visit I was able to stand at the tasting counter and sample all 17 of their premium wines. Due to COVID-19, my second visit turned out to be much different.
My friend and I arrived on a hot and steamy Tuesday morning in July, shortly after the winery opened for the day. While driving in I was happy that the grounds were just as beautiful as I remembered. Grapevines could be seen in every direction on the rolling hillsides. Once we arrived at the tasting room entrance a sign said that masks were mandatory, so we each donned a mask and headed inside. The tasting room was much different than I remembered. The large area that I believe used to be a gift shop was gone and there were tables and chairs there instead. I’m not sure if the gift shop was gone due to health restrictions and the need for more seating, or if they removed it all together for other reasons. I could still see the tasting counter in the back of the room, and I pointed out to my friend the exact spot where I had sampled wine here many years ago.
This time the tasting counter was closed, so we approached the retail wine sales area at the front of the building. There was only one other couple there besides us, which wasn’t surprising since it was a Tuesday morning. We waited as they purchased a bottle of wine to enjoy outside on the Barboursville patio. Once we got to the counter we inquired about tastings. We were told they were no longer doing traditional tastings – only wine flights – but unfortunately they didn’t offer the flights on Tuesdays. The gentleman at the counter told us we could order a glass or bottle of wine for onsite consumption, or we could purchase bottles to take home. Since we were already there, we decided to look over the wine list and choose from the 25 varieties of wine they had available and stay for a glass.
It was already approaching 90 degrees outside, so I looked over the list in search of something light. I chose their Allegrante Rosé and my friend decided on a glass of Merlot. We took a seat at one of the tables and the server gave us glasses and poured each of us a small sample of the wine we chose. I was glad he did that since we were not able to taste any of the wines, it did give us an option to change our mind. We both stuck with the wine we ordered – my Allegrante Rosé was crisp, dry and exactly the type of wine I was in the mood for this particular morning.
After a few minutes inside, we decided to finish our glasses outdoors and explore the grounds a little bit. We wandered down to the large patio area overlooking the vineyards where a few other couples had already gathered and were enjoying their wine on a summer morning. We then walked up to the Library building where they offer additional outdoor seating with even more gorgeous views of the vines. The Library building is also where we were told you can purchase wine flights when they are offering them.
Once we finished our glasses of wine we went inside to make a few purchases to take home. We decided on a bottle of the Merlot (which my friend enjoyed very much) plus I decided to try a bottle each of the Vigoner and Sangiovese. I’m looking forward to trying each of those in the near future, so watch for additional blog posts about these two varieties once I actually try them. Barborsville Vineyards is known for producing quality wine, so I’m sure they will both be to my liking.
Before leaving the property, we decided to do some exploring of the Barboursville Ruins, which are visible from the tasting room. This piece of architecture, which was reserved as a ruin after its destruction by fire on Christmas Day 1884, was once one of the largest and finest residences in the region. The only building in the county known to have been designed by Thomas Jefferson himself. It was constructed between 1814 and 1822 for Jefferson’s friend James Barbour, Governor of Virginia.
If you are interested in planning a total wine experience getaway, Barboursville Vineyards is the perfect place to do that. Not only do they produce premium wines offering tasting flights plus glass and bottle sales, they also have an on-site restaurant featuring Northern Italian cuisine. You can also book a luxury stay at the winery by making reservations at their 1804 Inn and Cottages. You can learn more about the wines of Barboursville Vineyards, the Palladio Restaurant and booking your stay on their website.