How to Drive in Wine Country: The Virginia Edition

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As a wine tourism destination, Tuscany is hard to beat. Whether you’re driving through the landscape, meandering the streets of Florence or Siena, or soaking up the region’s epic architecture and art, there are a host of sensory pleasures to complement your wine experience.

Sometimes, however, a wine destination closer to home is the right fit at the right time. For East Coast wine lovers, Virginia wine country might very well be the right choice. Here are some suggestions for not only driving IN wine country, but also for driving TO wine country in the “Virginia Is For Lovers” state.

Proximity

You can fly into one of the local airports or take the train to Charlottesville, the heart of wine country, and rent a car from there. Or, if you happen to be one of the millions living in metropolitan areas that are within driving distance, you can just drive yourself.

Either way, driving TOWARDS the wine country is where the trip and the vistas start. Virginia’s geography is diverse and unique, ranging from the scenic hills of Blue Ridge to three distinct wine regions on the coast (Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Shore and Hampton Roads) to rugged mountains and gushing rivers in the “heart of the Appalachia” in the southwest. part of the state.

The most populated wine region in terms of tasting rooms is along the Monticello Wine Trail near Charlottesville, although wineries across the state have invested human and financial capital to welcome guests and winemakers. wine lovers. Your wine country driving experience is naturally and variously influenced by your choice of ten different Virginia regions to drive to for the start of your tour. Each landscape is distinct, which supports and helps determine the diversity of experiences that are programmed, and of course the grapes that are grown.

Scale and speed

“The big farms. Small roads. It’s a stark juxtaposition you’ll notice in Virginia’s wine country. The built environment of vineyards has room to breathe, and you’ll often notice gathering or event spaces planned into an estate’s architecture. Summers are hot but winters are mild, and winery owners appreciate the value of year-round programming for visitors.

The route to the wineries is very likely to take small roads which are not quickly or very easily navigable – as in all wine regions since they are by definition located in less commercially developed agricultural areas. In Virginia specifically, however, it’s more like the “back view” of farms. You will notice that some grow apples and melons, for example, in addition to grapes. You will come across roadside farm stands and cider in addition to wine. You’ll also find local craft breweries almost as often as small-scale wineries.

You will first assimilate it by looking out the window of your car. You probably won’t be going very fast, given the long curves and sometimes sharp corners in the road. But you’ll still want to slow down, to give yourself enough cushion to stop when something interesting catches your eye. That’s when you step into the landscape, put the phone away, and recalibrate the slower cadence of Virginia’s wine country.

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