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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

virginia wine tour

this photo was taken before 11am

Since I do some of my best writing with a little wine buzz, I figured now would be the perfect time to draft a post about my day drinking adventure via tour bus. This might get deleted in the morning, but I have high hopes that it is going to be a gem.

By some clerical error, I was invited along with Richmond’s food media elite, to drink Virginia Wines for most of the day this Tuesday. This invitation included a bus ride to three of Richmond’s best restaurants including The Roosevelt, Rappahannock, and Lemaire, Virginia wines poured by the winemakers, paired with food from each restaurant, a visit by the first lady of Virginia, AND….

Do you really need an and? I am pretty sure those things are better than what a normal Tuesday itinerary looks like, right? Ok, AND….free swag, like this wine bottle coozie that I totally won because of my amazing memorization skills!

It was a great day.

Here is what I learned:

Virginia wine makers talk about their grapes like they are their children. We met three winemakers throughout the day and heard each of their stories about the wines we tasted. Although each story was a little different, the sentiment was the same. They live for their grapes. The winemaker from Ankida Ridge talked briefly about the hurricane that hit a lot of Virginia wineries really hard last year. She was so glad that her pinot noir grapes were safe and sound inside before the heavy rains started. I swear my neighbor left her cat out in the storm for the whole hurricane last year and thought nothing of it.

There is such a thing as a kayak wine tour in Virginia. I have been on a bicycle wine tour, but kayaking? This seems like crazy talk. The owner of Chatham Vineyards assured me it is a real thing. They call it “PaddleYour Glass Off”.

Steel Chardonnay might sound like the name of lady wrestler, but it also a term referring to a Chardonnay that is fermented in steel as opposed to aged in oak. I could be wrong though. They could have been talking about women’s wrestling and I just misunderstood because I was too busy eating oysters at Rappahannok while this conversation was happening.

Lemaire, one of the most special restaurants in Richmond, serves box wine! Not to worry, we aren’t talking Franzia, here. Winemaker Micheal Shaps served us two wines from his namesake selection that made most everyone at the table swoon. He also shared that his Wineworks bag in a box wines are served as Lemaire’s house wines and sold at local grocery stores including Ellwood Thompson’s and Kroger.

Who knew I would learn so much while day drinking on a Tuesday?


  1. Looks like a lot of fun!

    I'm a fan of steel chardonnay's. I think there popularity is totally growing.

    1. it was a blast! and agree, steel chardonnay is a great wine and wrestling name

  2. Ahhh so much fun!!! Definitely sounds like a phenomenal Tuesday. And as for the M.Shapps boxed wines, oh girl we went to visit there during our 5 stop (whoops) lil winery tour in charlottesville and loved the wines. Came home w a $28 box (4 bottles in there!) of cab franc that has lasted for a month and still tastes great - I would definitely buy again. Oh yea, and their wine tasting is 13 wines deep. So yea. Be prepared if you ever go ;)

    1. Stephanie you are a girl after my heart. 13 wines at your 5th wine stop?! You, my friend, are a champion. I will be keeping my eyes out for those boxes. The wines we tasted were PHENOMENAL!!

  3. Hey! Is that Kendra polishing your glass in the background? Nice!

  4. You had a great tour, I envy you. By the way, you did a great blog.