It’s no secret that October is the best month for leaf peeping in Shenandoah Valley. But did you know that it’s also Virginia Wine Month? Here’s a guide on how to uncork the fun:
Staunton and Harrisonburg are located just off Interstate 81, which runs north south through the Shenandoah Valley. These two vibrant cities – just 25 minutes apart – form the perfect bookends to your next wine getaway.
If you like curvy county roads, skip the highway and try Route 11 or Route 42. Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park provides a loftier option (and with the higher elevation, an earlier color show.)
Fall’s cooler temperatures bring clear skies with spectacular views of the mountain ranges to the east and west.
BarrenRidge Vineyards is located on the grounds of a family-owned apple orchard, and features an 1890′s apple barn that has been converted into a state-of-the-art winery.
In addition to a beautiful landscape, Bluestone Vineyards offers tastings and tours so guests can get a deeper look into the winemaking process. At CrossKeys Vineyards, you can sip al fresco on the patio, and grab a bite from the pairing menu.
It’s always wine-time in downtown Staunton, so if you’re serious about sipping make time to visit Barking Dog Wine Bar, AVA Wine Bar, and the sleek downtown tasting room of Ox-Eye Vineyard. Need something to carry home or share a favorite wine purchase? Check out the handcrafted, witty (and reusable!) wine bags at Made, conveniently located next to Barking Dog Wine Bar!
In Harrisonburg, Downtown Wine & Gourmet offers free wine tastings every Friday from 5-7pm. If you need to stock up for the ride home, check out Vintage Wines which offers the largest selection of wines in the Shenandoah Valley.
Dine Out in Style
In Staunton, you’ll want to book a table at Zynodoa or Emilio’s. In Harrisonburg, you can’t miss with either Local Chop & Grill House or Joshua Wilton House. All of these fine restaurants proudly offer Virginia wine by the glass, and offer customized wine pairing suggestions for your meal.
Wondering how long to stay?
Plan to spend at least two nights, more if you want to take in museums, theaters, art galleries and other attractions. You can begin your wine-getaway in either Harrisonburg or Staunton – why not spend a night in each city to get the best of both worlds?
Travel tip: visit mid-week and skip the crowds!
Want to stay in the city? Make plans to stay at The Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton. Originally built in 1924 and a member of Historic Hotels of America, this 124-room is a Shenandoah Valley landmark. Ask for the “Downtown Wine” package (includes complimentary Virginia wine upon arrival, wine tasting for two at Ox-Eye Tasting room, 50% off bottles of wine in Sorrels Lounge, and more.)
If you prefer a more intimate location, luxurious amenities await you at By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast in Harrisonburg. When you book your reservation, ask for the “Shenandoah Wine Trail” package (includes complimentary Virginia wine upon arrival, a light gourmet picnic to carry to one of your vineyard stops, discounts at local vineyards, voucher for a romantic dinner for two, and a hot gourmet breakfast basket delivered to your cottage door.)
In the Shenandoah Valley, local goodness is everywhere. Stop by a local farmer’s market, brewery, or pumpkin patch to bring some of this season’s bounty home with you.