Thomas Jefferson attempted to grow grapes in Virginia in the early 1800s, but was not successful. Thankfully for wine lovers like us, modern day wine making has really taken off in Virginia and today the state ranks fifth in the number of wineries in the nation and is also the nation’s fifth largest wine grape producer. Equally exciting to us is the emergence of craft breweries, with Virginia ranking 15th in the nation for the number of active breweries.
So, it’s no surprise that we would want to visit wineries and craft breweries as we rediscover Virginia. We would like to share two favorites, both located in the beautiful town of Abingdon.
Abingdon Vineyard & Winery is nestled along the South Holston River in one of the prettiest spots we have ever seen. Owners Janet Lee Nordin and Bob Carlson started the vineyard in 1998 and today make over twenty varieties of wine. We like dry wines and among our favorites are the Chardonel and the Cabernet Franc. If you prefer the sweeter side of wines, they have plenty to choose from. Nearly every time we visit, we buy a bottle, along with some cheese and crackers from the tasting room, and sit outside on the patio overlooking the winding river. Very relaxing!
For a livelier experience, you might head over to Wolf Hills Brewing Company. It has been around since 2009 and is already a very popular spot. They brew upwards of 10 different beers, from Ales to IPAs to Stouts. It’s a brewpub in what looks to be a converted ice house. As you sit at the bar of one of the indoor picnic tables, you can see the tanks where the beer is brewing. Outside you may see some young folks playing Corn Hole. When we were there on a Saturday afternoon (they are open limited hours) we enjoyed their White Blaze Honey Cream Ale and the Creeper Trail Amber Ale. There was a wide range of ages in there and everyone was very friendly. A fellow beer lover at a nearby table even shared some of his addictive spicy pretzels. There is also a stage where bands play many nights.
As we come across other wineries and breweries we enjoy, we will share them in future posts. Please let us know your favorites.