Attention all wine lovers! You may know the Charlottesville area for its historic sites like Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. After all, this UNESCO World Heritage site is prominently featured on the back of the U.S. nickel. But did you know that Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia are also known for their renowned wines? The Monticello Wine Trail, the trail that connects the Charlottesville area’s 40-plus wineries, continues to become more established and well-known each year — and it’s cranking out wines that are making oenophiles from all around the country and the world take note.
The Charlottesville area is situated at the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, just a short 2 1/2-hour drive from the DC/NoVA area or a quick Amtrak ride from Union Station in DC. And though Jefferson himself attempted to grow his own grapes here hundreds of years ago, it wasn’t until more modern times that these efforts were successful. The terroir here is well suited to growing a variety of grapes and the wines have been racking up the accolades regionally, nationally, and even internationally.
The wineries are just as lovely and unique as the wines themselves — and the cozy vibe is on point during the winter months. Sipping a newly discovered vintage with a roaring fire in the background equates to pure weekend magic.
Discover a more intimate setting at one of the many boutique wineries that dot the landscape or enjoy a glass at one the larger vineyards like Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards or King Family Vineyards — and soak in those epic views of the surrounding mountains while you sip fireside. No matter what you choose, winter visits come with the bonus of a more relaxed experience with less visitors, more privacy, and more time to connect with winery staff.
Transport to a warmer place while pairing wine with fine chocolate in a tropical conservatory at Glass House Winery. Or discover your new favorite chardonnay at Blenheim Vineyards — owned and operated by none other than Dave Matthews (yes, that Dave Matthews, of the Dave Matthews Band).
Ride in style on four wheels and let one of our many transportation companies do the work. They’ll plan the perfect itinerary for you and transport you to multiple wineries, meaning all you have to do is sit back, relax, and decide which wine you’re going to order at the next location. Since you’ll be visiting several spots, be sure to check out the Monticello Wine Trail Digital Passport. Just check in, sip, and win a prize after your 10th winery visit. It’s as easy as that! And if wine isn’t your leisure beverage of choice, the Charlottesville area is also home to a variety of craft breweries, artisanal cideries, and even a few distilleries!
Delicious vino aside, winter visitors love to explore Charlottesville amongst fewer crowds. The area has been named a top foodie destination for a city of its size, with farm-to-table restaurants at every turn. Bundle up and stroll the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall, for dozens of restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops.
Entertainment abounds at venues like the Paramount Theater, or catch a NCAA Basketball game at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena. Enjoy off-season rates at one of the many places to stay including resorts, inns, bed and breakfasts, chain hotels, and vacation rentals, perfect for resting up and recharging for another day of adventures in Charlottesville and Albemarle County!
Start planning your stay today at visitcharlottesville.org.
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