The Inn at Monticello is the perfect home base for exploring Virginia’s wine country. There are more than 25 wineries within 30 minutes of the Inn, including Jefferson Vineyards (next to Monticello), Trump Vineyards (formerly Kluge) and Blenheim Vineyards (owned by the Dave Matthews family), which are just down the road.
See why Life Magazine in June 2005 named The Inn at Monticello as the place to stay when visiting “the Best New Place to Drink Wine: Charlottesville,” and why Drinks Magazine, Summer 2007, described The Inn as “a perfect base for touring, whether your interest is in wine or history.”
In 1773, Thomas Jefferson gave 400 acres near Monticello to establish the first commercial vineyard in Virginia and the American colonies. Now, with more than 200 vineyards across the state, Virginia has become the nation's fifth largest wine producer, and a destination for the wine enthusiast.
For information about Charlottesville area wineries, go to The Monticello Wine Trail and The Appellation Trail. And for a fascinating story involving Thomas Jefferson’s intrigue with wine, read The Billionaire’s Vinegar, by Benjamin Wallace, available at the Monticello Gift Shop or at leading bookstores.
Vinnmont Virginia Wine Tours:
For a truly memorable tasting experience, hire a local wine expert to drive you to a selected group of Charlottesville wineries! We are now
offering guided Virginia wine tours through our new company, VinnMont.
During a tour, we typically visit 2-4 of Virginia's finest wineries for tastings, and we take you to see some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable. Tours last 3 - 5 hours and include deluxe transportation and a gourmet lunch served at one of the wineries, but do not include tasting room fees (by state law, we are prohibited from paying these for our guests). Call us at 434-296-1344 (Vinnmont), or at 434-979-3593 (The Inn at Monticello) for more information and
to make your reservations.
Recommended Virginia Wine Tours:
If you decide to do a self-guided tour, we recommend these wineries and areas around Charlottesville:
Easy and Close:
Just between Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland sits Jefferson Vineyard. Visitors can sample their exceptional wines in the tasting room, and then enjoy a bottle or glass on their outdoor patio. A short ride past Ash Lawn-Highland is Blenheim Vineyards. Blenheim is owned and operated by well-known musician Dave Matthews and his family, and has a beautiful recently expanded tasting room and porch. Completing the "easy and close" wineries tour is First Colony Winery, followed by Sugarleaf Vineyards and a spectacular new vineyard, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards . Pippin Hill offers wine and food tastings on its porch, with magnificent views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Great Scenes to the West:
To the west of Charlottesville are some extraordinary vineyards known not only for their great wines, but also for wonderful scenery. King Family Vineyards is set against the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors can take in a polo match while sampling their finer creations. Slightly more to the west is Pollak Vineyards. In a short span of six years, Pollak has become recognized for making some of the best wines in Virginia. Not far from Pollak is Veritas Vineyard and Winery. We love Veritas not only for its great wines, but also for its seductively comfortable tasting room and its special events. Also out west are several other favorite wineries, Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery, and White Hall Vineyards. Both make some superb wines, especially whites.
History and Rolling Hills to the North and East:
To the east of Charlottesville are some great wineries located on historically significant lands. About 15 miles north of the Inn, on Route 231, lies Keswick Vineyards. Keswick is part of an estate that served as a stopping point for British Colonel Banastre Tarleton just before his raid on Charlottesville on June 4, 1781. The property also became an encampment for Confederate soldiers who fought in the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness. Keswick now makes award-winning wines there. Just up the road from Keswick is Barboursville Vineyards. On the grounds at Barboursville are the ruins of a home designed by Thomas Jefferson and owned by his good friend, former Virginia Governor James Barbour. The house was built in 1814, but was destroyed by fire on Christmas day, 1884. In 1976, the Zonin family from Italy bought the property with the idea of establishing a vineyard. Today, Barboursville produces some of Virginia's finest wines. Barboursville Vineyards is also the site of an award-winning restaurant, the Palladio, which is named after the classical architect who inspired Thomas Jefferson.
Barboursville is not far from Montpelier, the Orange County home of James Madison, fourth president of the United States. There is no winery on the property, but Montpelier is the site of many wine festivals and other special events, particularly the Orange County Fair and the Montpelier Hunt Races, held annually on the first Saturday in November. The house has recently undergone a complete restoration and is well worth a visit.
Close to Barboursville and Keswick Vineyards and Montpelier are two more contemporary wineries, Horton Vineyards and Burnley Vineyards. These also offer a diverse selection of excellent wines made from Virginia grapes.
A new winery to the north and west is Glass House , located in Free Union. Part of their tasting room is a greenhouse where the owners, Jeff and Michelle, grow tropical plants. Enjoy a glass or bottle of their terrific wine surrounded by banana trees that are 15 - 20 feet tall!