Back in September, Kyle and I drove up to Charlottesville to watch the Oregon Ducks play at UVA. Since I'm not the biggest fan of football, I agreed to go with him, but only if we spent Sunday vineyard hopping. It took about two seconds for him to say yes, and I began researching vineyards in the area. There were several to choose from, but I ended up picking two that were on the route home.
We rolled into Early Mountain Vineyard before noon and gawked at the gorgeous scenery. The mountains were lush and green in the background. Despite the lingering September humidity, the higher elevation provided a refreshing breeze. We sat on the back deck and ordered a flight each of local wines to sample. The wind slowly died down, and it was hot. Flies kept buzzing around our sweaty faces (glamorous, I know) and one landed in my glass of chardonnay. I pulled my hair back into a knot and decided to toughen up and enjoy my wine. It was our first vineyard experience, after all! We ended up ordering a plate of cheese to share. The creamy cheese was paired with raw honey, dried apricots, and plump, juicy raisins. The combination was fantastic. I also appreciated the menu's gluten-free cracker offerings.
We wandered around the vineyard and soaked in the landscape for awhile before heading out. The fire pits in the back of the building were our favorite feature. Wooden chairs circled stone pits and orange umbrellas provided shade above small picnic tables. The area was quaint and cozy.
Our second stop was Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard. We drove deeper into the mountains to reach our destination, and the end result was breathtaking. The Blue Ridge Mountains loomed over the property, creating a gorgeous backdrop. The gray paneled cottage served as a restaurant and bar with a barn attached for wedding receptions. The building was surrounded by a shaded outdoor patio, where several groups of people lounged and ate lunch. We sat inside since the patio was full and reveled in the breeze from the ceiling fan and the soft jazz music. We ordered a flight to share and split the charcuterie spread. The cutting board arrived to our table loaded with cured meats, olives, arugula pesto and grape mustard. It was absolutely divine.
Before jumping on the road and heading back to Virginia Beach, we strolled around the grounds and admired the scenery. Our day spent vineyard hopping was totally worth the football game! I can't wait to return to Charlottesville this spring and give Virginia Wine Country another whirl.