5 Virginia Wineries Worth Visiting

These vineyards are turning out some of the best wines in the state, and their settings are lovely.

Early Mountain Vineyards. Photo by Nikki Santerre Photography

Early Mountain Vineyards

In 2012, Jean and Steve Case built Early Mountain as a love letter to Virginia. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in the tiny town of Madison (population 230), the venue itself is impressive, with indoor and outdoor spaces built to host everything from casual gatherings to large weddings and events.

But it’s Early Mountain’s “Best of Virginia” program that sets it apart: In addition to serving and selling wines from its namesake label (the rosé is a perennial favorite), the winery also pours a rotating selection of some of the state’s top sips. The roster frequently includes wines from other vineyards, including a top-notch bubbly from Virginia producer Thibaut-Janisson, a nebbiolo from Barboursville—the winery that helped put Virginia wine on the map—and cider from local favorite Foggy Ridge.

Another bonus is Early Mountain’s full-service kitchen, which offers typical vineyard fare, plus a menu of small plates, salads, sandwiches and desserts. This makes it easy to park yourself here for the long haul, whether it’s fireside with a good book or on a picnic blanket with your kids and dog.

Named for the property’s earliest known landowner (Revolutionary War veteran Lt. Joseph Early), Early Mountain is the most bustling of the five wineries listed here, but it’s also the most expansive. Social drinkers can buy tickets for the spring and fall oyster festivals, winemaker’s dinners and live music events, but all are welcome to visit year-round any day of the week except Tuesday. Tours are available by request, and tastings are offered at the bar for $10 per person. earlymountain.com

Early Mountain Vineyards. Photo courtesy Nikki Santerre Photography.

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