14 Charlottesville Area Wineries to Discover on the Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold Medal Trail
The Virginia Governor’s Cup is the state’s top competition for wineries, cideries, and meaderies — and Albemarle County is full of winners this year. Our local wineries are all part of the Monticello American Viticultural Area (“Monticello AVA” for short), a wine region considered by many to be one of the best in the country and, increasingly, the world. Seven of the twelve wines that made up this year’s Governor’s Cup Case Winners were from wineries in the Monticello AVA. One of those seven wines, Barboursville Vineyards’ 2015 Paxxito, was this year’s overall Virginia Governor’s Cup winner! Barboursville Vineyards can be found just north of Albemarle County, about a twenty-five-minute drive from downtown Charlottesville.
Following the Virginia Governor’s Cup, Gold Medal Wine Trail is one of the best ways to explore Virginia wine country, and there’s no better place to start than right here in Albemarle County. About a dozen of this year’s winners are located here, each within a short drive of downtown Charlottesville. To help you navigate and keep track of which wineries you’ve visited, follow this link to set up a mobile-exclusive passport on your phone. After arriving at a participating winery, check-in on the app to take advantage of discounts and special offers.
Afton Mountain Vineyards is located west of Charlottesville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lawn, patio and pavilion seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Admire vibrant spring colors on the slopes of the mountains while you enjoy a tasting of their award-winning wine! The tasting room is open from 11 am to 5 pm Thursday to Sunday.
Albemarle CiderWorks opened in 2009 and has been fermenting tasty varieties of hard cider ever since. Try out their current offerings at their tasting room in Albemarle County. Plenty of outdoor seating is available, and reservations are encouraged.
Find Barboursville Vineyards a short twenty-five-minute drive northeast of downtown Charlottesville. This year, Barboursville Vineyards took the Governor’s Cup. They won the whole competition! And their winning ways aren’t new. Barboursville Vineyards has been racking up top awards for years now. Their tasting room is open daily between the hours of 11 am and 5 pm. Before you visit, be sure you check out their website for the latest on hours of operation and safety protocols.
Chisholm Vineyards at Adventure Farm
Open Friday to Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm, Chisholm Vineyards at Adventure Farm is one of the most dynamic wineries in Albemarle County. In 2020, they hosted a safe, socially-distanced concert series (the Festy), and will continue to expand event offerings this year. The view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the outdoor tables surrounding their tasting room is broad and beautiful.
Open Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm, Jefferson Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Albemarle County. They’ve been in business for forty years! Gabriele Rausse, known as the father of the modern Virginia wine industry, helped this vineyard get started on the right foot back in the early 1980s.
Jefferson Vineyards, which can be found near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Highland, received three gold medals for their 2016 Jefferson’s Own Estate Reserve, their 2019 Viognier, and their 2019 Cabernet Franc.
Founded in 2000 by the Schornberg family, Keswick Vineyards trusts its winemaking to Stephen Barnard, who has won them several Virginia Governor’s Cup awards over the years. Their tasting room is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. On Saturdays, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation!
This large, spacious winery in Crozet has plenty of room for you to spread out and enjoy quality time with friends or family. Epic views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains await. The tasting room is open daily between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Be on the lookout for unique events on their calendar as well! Polo matches regularly take place here, and are free and open to the public.
Michael Shaps’ reputation as a top Virginia winemaker has long been established. Under his Michael Shaps Wineworks label alone, he has won numerous awards. In addition to Michael Shaps Wineworks, he owns and manages a winery in Burgundy, France.
Michael Shaps Wineworks received ten gold medals, one for each of the following: the 2015 Raisin d’Etre White, the 2015 Meritage, the 2016 Tannat, the 2016 Chardonnay, the 2017 Cabernet Franc, the 2017 Chardonnay, the 2017 Meritage, the 2018 Chardonnay, the 2019 Roussanne, and the 2019 Petit Manseng.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is a spacious, culinary vineyard within easy driving distance of downtown Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Reservations, which can be made via Resy, are recommended should you wish to secure indoor or Veranda seating. The tasting room is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. Unique to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is the extent of their culinary garden. Expect excellent eats in addition to choice wines.
Enjoy a tasting outdoors with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tasting room at Pollak Vineyards is open 12 pm to 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are encouraged but not required. If you’re so inclined, you are welcome to bring a blanket or chairs and enjoy your wine by the pond near the veranda and vineyards.
Pollak Vineyards, which can be found near Greenwood in western Albemarle County, received three gold medals, one each for the 2015 Meritage, the 2017 Mille Fleurs, and the 2017
Sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains await at Stinson Vineyards. The tasting room here is open Thursday to Sunday. Plenty of outdoor seating is available. The Stinson team specializes in small-batch wines and has plainly been enjoying growing critical acclaim over the past few years.
Stinson Vineyards, located near Crozet in western Albemarle County, received a gold medal for the 2017
Thatch Winery is a short drive south of Charlottesville on scenic Route 20. Reservations for indoor seating are now available at Thatch Winery. No reservations are required to sit outside — first come, first served. Enjoy their wine by the glass, bottle, or flight. The tasting room is open 11 am – 5 pm Thursday through Sunday, weather permitting.
Open 11 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Monday, Trump Winery offers a variety of tastings and seating options at their scenic location south of Charlottesville. Groups of 8 to 10 persons require a reservation.
Trump Winery, located in Albemarle County, received a gold medal for the 2014 Brut Reserve.
Veritas Winery, located just across the county line in nearby Nelson County, also received five gold medals this year, one for each of the following wines: 2019 The Momentarius Collection Monticello White Blend, the 2015 Scintilla, the 2017 Petit Verdot, the 2017 Cabernet Franc Reserve, and the 2019 Sauvignon
Awards have been piling up for the Monticello American Viticultural Area for years now. These winning ways are nothing new! For the complete list of this year’s Virginia Governors Cup winners, click here. Keep in mind when you visit that excellence is not exclusive to the businesses listed above. There are many more wineries in Charlottesville and Albemarle County that are well worth a visit. While you’re here, should you need a place to stay, we maintain a complete list of lodging options: everything from resorts and hotels to inns and cabins. We look forward to welcoming you to Charlottesville and Albemarle County.