Vineyards and Breweries
Charlottesville and the surround counties of Albemarle and Nelson are home to many well established vineyards, wineries, cideries and breweries. Although vineyards are no new feature in the area, they have really begun to flourish in the past 50 years. Breweries took a slower start, but with the growing following of craft beers, as well as an updated Virginia law that no longer requires breweries to serve food on the premises breweries are sprouting up all over the area. The unique palettes of the winemakers and brewers has led the diversity of options to not only be fully embraced by the community, but attracted people from all over the state, and even country!
Vineyards in the area have expanded largely in numbers over the past half century due to the particularly vine-friendly terroir of the area. If you are new to winemaking in general, terroir refers to the soil, topography and climate. All of these things work together to create a taste unique to the region. It also may direct the types of grapes grown in a particular region, which may stand out more prominently if you pay attention at the grocery store.
Although most breweries in the area don’t grow their own hops, the area has proven to be a prime place to grow those as well. (Hops are used as a flavoring and stabilizing element in the beer making process.) That said, there are breweries and farms in the area growing hops successfully, Blue Mountain Brewery and Steadfast Farm being excellent examples.
If you are looking to call Charlottesville home, and indulge or join in the community of wineries, breweries and cideries, you have so much goodness awaiting your discovery. A taste for everyone, a scenery for any day, and a community you’ll always want to be a part of. Because there are more I could ever name on this one page and truly do them justice, I will name just a few of each along with some trails to follow on your path to discovery.
Wineries & Vineyards
Whether you are looking to go wine tasting, somewhere to listen to music on a summer evening, or a venue for your upcoming wedding, you will certainly be able to find just the right spot in the Charlottesville Area. Charlottesville vineyards are highly sought after as wedding venues because of the scenic view that comes with most. The Blue Ridge Mountains make a stunning backdrop, and the climate is almost too perfect!
A few of the wine trails in the area that make for excellent wine tasting trips and venue scouting include:
If you are wanting a rundown on what wineries not to miss out on, Washington Post has an article about where to go and why, whether you are in it for the view, the wine, the food or the atmosphere!
For all of your Charlottesville Wedding Planning needs, there is an amazing startup based in Charlottesville by the name of Borrowed & Blue. Here you will find a phenomenal search engine where you can find the perfect venue in the area!
If you are looking to buy a winery or vineyard in the Charlottesville area, contact Rick Walden for immediate personal assistance, and 20+ years of experience.
The shift from beer giants and generic beer to smaller breweries with hand-crafted brews has been huge over the past 10 years. From 2014-2015 the craft breweries nabbed 20% of the retail market, up from 11% the previous year! Every year the Brewer’s Association continues to announce the market share growth of craft brewers. The supply & demand aspect of craft brews has definitely fueled the growth of many craft breweries in the Charlottesville Area, some that even supply beer across the state due to their popularity. The Charlottesville community also in large part has a desire to support local businesses which creates an extremely entrepreneur-friendly atmosphere.
Some of our favorite local breweries and brews include:
Founded in 1999, Starr Hill is the second oldest brewery in the state of Virginia. Given this fact, Starr Hill’s story is complex and has resulted ultimately in their distribution across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Their tap room has since moved from West Main St. in Charlottesville to Downtown Crozet.
Their core 5 brews are:
Northern Lights – IPA
Grateful – American Pale Ale
The Love – German Hefeweizen
Jomo – Vienna Style Lager
Double Platinum – Imperial IPA
Serving Charlottesville from it’s beating heart, Champion’s tap room is located a couple blocks walk from the famous walking mall, and their production facility only a tad bit further in the up & coming Belmont neighborhood. The young and vibrant atmosphere here is evident and quite possible due to the fact that the owner himself is in his 20’s. Although this brewery is less than 5 years old, expansion is occurring on a daily basis and includes the opening of another brewery & tap room in the capital of Virginia, the nearby city of Richmond. The beer line-up is constantly rotating and always inspired. From the season, to a record, to a quirky combination of flavors, Champion always has an interesting and delicious tap lineup.
Some of our favorite brews:
The Missile stole my heart and captured my tastebuds the first time I tasted it. With just enough bite and crispness to drink in any season or mood, it is my go-to Charlottesville brew.
Shower Beer – Czech Style Pils
Tarts & Sours – These vary on tap and availability, but are incredibly delicious and refreshing.
Blue Mountain Brewery is located along Nelson County’s 151, famous for it’s lineup of breweries and wineries. Blue Mountain was first opened in 2007 and was in fact Nelson County’s first brewery! Serving not only beer, but a full menu all day long, Blue Mountain attracts people from near and far, and regularly can be seen with with a packed restaurant and patio. Not only that, but I happen to think that the view from the patio might just be the best one in the area to catch a beautiful sunset over the mountains. Another interesting fact about Blue Mountain is that they are growing their own hops in two locations for their beer production.
Well known brews:
Classic Lager – Blue Mountain Lager
Full Nelson – Virginia Pale
Kolsch 151 – Kolsch-Style Beer
Steel Wheels – E.S.B. Ale
A Hopwork Orange – Orange infused IPA
Now these three breweries are certainly just a few of the many many many breweries that the Charlottesville has to offer. If you are in the area to look at homes for sale, feel free to ask your realtor for a list of recommended wineries and breweries to check out while you are here.
Cideries are certainly the newest growing trend in the area but lend themselves to a wide variety of interests. Perhaps the sweetest of the three, and perhaps the most palette friendly and approachable, visitors for these have increasingly grown as well, but there is certainly room for expansion. Generally speaking, cideries are also a great option to look into for wedding venues.
A few that have caught our eye:
From dry to super-sweet, you will certainly be able to find a cider just right for you among these four options.
For more information on purchasing a vineyard or brewery, please contact Virginia Estates for immediate personal assistance.