Skyline Drive Wine Tour: Thornton Gap Entrance

April 13th, 2018 by

Summer is almost here and if you’re like us, you probably feel the need to hit the open road and burn off the cabin fever. What better way to do that than taking a road trip, experiencing the great outdoors and sipping on fine wines from our local vineyards?

Just under an hour from Warrenton, VA lies Shenandoah National Park. It’s the perfect spot to slip away to for a weekend with your family or friends of camping, fishing, hiking and more.

Tucked into the edges of Shenandoah’s scenic Skyline Drive you’ll find 27 wineries, a whiskey distillery, unique local restaurants and a dozen quaint bed and breakfast spots. So if you want a break from the 105 mile route, take a detour and stop in for a bite to eat or sample the vino from some of the locals at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Washington

Gadino Cellars

Location:
92 Schoolhouse Road
Washington, VA 22747

Hours:
Friday, Sunday & Monday
11:30-5:00pm
Saturday
11:30-6:00pm

If you’ve ever dreamed of slipping away to a vineyard in Italy, get a taste of the old world at Gadino Cellars in Rappahannock County, VA.  This Italian-inspired winery features gourmet cheeses, sausages, two regulation size Bocce Ball courts and, of course, an assortment of fine wines to please any palette.

You may also want to grab a bottle of Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay and enjoy a picnic while taking in the beauty of the vineyards and the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Leashed pets are welcome to join as well.

According to the Gadino family, “Quality is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” It’s because of their commitment to quality that since 2004 they have chosen to only produce between 2300 – 1400 cases per year.

If you plan on visiting in the fall, ask about taking part in the yearly harvest festival!

 

Little Washington Winery

Location:
72 Christmas Tree Lane
Washington, VA 22747

Hours:
Friday – Sunday
11:00am – 5:00pm

Little Washington is more than a place to sample some of the best wines in Virginia, it’s an interactive experience.

Sign up for FoodieU and join the wine and food pairing classes each weekend. Other courses include Wine Bootcamp, Cheeseology, Wines of the World, Blending Class, Home Winemaking Class and more. You can also participate in the Dirt Road Wine Tour featuring not only Little Washington’s George (named the #1 red in Virginia), but other incredible wines from small farm wineries across the country. With seven new wines to choose from every day, you’ll want to visit again and again.

In July, Little Washington Winery hosts Winestock, named one of the best wine festivals in Virginia. Break out your groovy hippie wear and enjoy a day of music, food, and wine!


Sperryville

Copper Fox Distillery

Location:
9 River Lane
Sperryville, VA 22740

Hours:
Monday – Saturday
10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday
1:00pm – 6:00pm

It may not be a winery, but we couldn’t leave Copper Fox Distillery off our tour.

After visiting several distilleries across the US and traveling to Scotland, the birthplace of Scotch whiskey, owner Rick Wasmund launched Copper Fox Distillery, the first applewood aged whiskey in the world, in 2000.

Both the Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky and Copper Fox Rye Whisky are made from scratch by hand-malting the barley, then flavoring the grain with a progressive series of new and used applewood and oak chips inside used bourbon barrels.

Along with both the malt whiskey and the rye whiskey, Copper Fox offers a gin made from malt, Mediterranean juniper, citrus, spice and selected botanicals as well as a barrel kit. Whether you’re a pro or an aspiring mixologist, the barrel kit offers an opportunity to age spirits at home.

If you’ve already tried out Gadino Cellars, Little Washington Winery and Copper Fox Distillery on your way to the Thornton Gap entrance, look for our next guide where we’ll head north and discover more one-of-a-kind wineries along the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills.

Location:
5 Sharp Rock Road
Sperryville, Virginia 22740
Hours:
Friday – Sunday & Monday Holidays
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Month of October, Thursday – Monday
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sharp Rock Vineyards is set on a centuries-old family farm, offering quaint bed and breakfast cottages in addition to a top quality artisan winery. Set in a valley at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Hughes River flows straight through the 25-acre vineyards. Sharp Rock owners Jimm and Kathy East planted their first vineyards in 1992, and by 1998 the vineyard produced its first hand-bottled wines.
Sharp Rock’s sauvignon blanc has been an international award winner for 12 years in a row, and Sharp Rock wine has received more than 100 medals overall. With the beautiful scenery and the availability of charming and comfortable cottages on site, Sharp Rock is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Of course, your cottage stay will come with a free tasting and bottle of your choice to top it all off.

Stanley

Location:
1126 Marksville Road
Stanley, Virginia 22851
Hours:
Thursday – Sunday
12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Wisteria Vineyard is a small, tranquil winery located on the Western edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The farm dates back to the late 19th century and the grapes are grown in the soil of an old creek bed, helping the vines thrive in the rocky soil. Wisteria is perfect any time of the year, offering free Wi-Fi and a cozy fireplace inside, or a great view of the Virginia countryside outside by one of the fire pits. Wisteria is a working farm, which means you may be treated to sights of the other residents, a herd of sheep or a flock of chickens.
You will receive a complimentary tasting glass during your visit and groups smaller than 8 are welcome to stop by any time during regular hours. Groups larger than 8 should call or email ahead to ensure the same great experience. You won’t be able to bring your dog with you to this winery, but you are more than welcome to enjoy the company of the vineyard’s canine residents during your stay.

Etlan

Location:
40 Gibson Hollow Lane
Etlan, Virginia 22719
Hours:
Friday – Sunday & Monday Holidays
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
September – November 7 days a week
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Called “Madison’s hidden gem” by the Madison Eagle newspaper, DuCard is a relative newcomer to the Virginia winery scene. Originally only selling grapes to other wineries, DuCard began bottling its own vintage after wines including its grapes won numerous prestigious awards, including the Virginia Governor’s Cup and Best Wine in the East. Nestled against Old Rag Mountain, DuCard is pet-friendly and ideal for families.
DuCard can accommodate groups of 8 or more with reservations, and groups can expect to receive a complimentary tasting glass for each person, along with an intimate tour of the winery. DuCard also offers occasional semi-private tastings accompanied by gourmet, locally sourced refreshments of the vineyard’s latest vintage right out of the barrel. Whether you’re booking a company retreat or a getaway with friends and family, DuCard has something for everyone.
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