Did you know Virginia has nearly 300 wineries? It’s amazing to watch them spring up and hard to keep tabs on all of them.
Anyone who enjoys visiting wineries will find a wide range of experiences in Virginia. Some are glitzy-glam, no-kids-allowed establishments while others are true farm winery environments. Indeed, the Trumps own the old Kluge Vineyard and have expanded into the realms of hospitality and weddings (it is Trump, after all), while wineries like Peaks of Otter remain true to their fruit-flavored roots with no-frills barn tastings and farm animals out back.
I visited the 17-acre Rockbridge Vineyard in Raphine the week after Valentine’s Day to see their new tasting room. The winemaker’s wife, Jane Rouse, told me it was a good thing I’d held off a few days. “This place was packed,” she said, referencing the tasting room’s opening day, Valentine’s Day.
A gentleman entered behind me. We were the 10 a.m. midweek early birds. I was on assignment and he was killing time while his wife attended a quilting event down the road. Jane introduced him to Rockbridge wines with the capstone being one of their signature DeChiels. He was sold. I perused, listened in, and shot a few photos, taking in the ambience and the sun’s morning warmth pouring through the windows.
The new space is an addition off of the old, which is now the gift shop. The old space remains unchanged, for now, with racks of bottles lining the inner wall and gift items filling a far corner. The new space is wide open and airy. Its position off of the barn is such that sun floods the space from sunrise to sunset.
A centerpiece of the new tasting room is the bar. Fashioned from a section of an old silo, it pays homage to the farm. Tables for two line the walls beneath every window. The winemaker, Shep Rouse, made the tabletops with hickory from the farm. The trim around the windows and ceiling, too.
When You Visit
Located at 35 Hill View Lane in Raphine, Rockbridge’s tasting room is open daily (Sunday & Monday at noon, Tuesday-Saturday at 10 a.m.).
Tastings are free unless you’re coming in a group of eight or more. Please call for group reservations. Check their event calendar for festivals and Sunday’s on the Deck schedule.