Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Virginia Wineries with Hiking Trails

Virginia has awesome hiking and many excellent wineries, so why not combine both!  Here are three wineries offering tasty wines plus fun hikes.

Mountain Cove Vineyards, located in Nelson County near the town of Lovingston, VA, has a challenging 5.5  mile hike adjacent to it called Fortune's Cove Preserve: a demanding loop that steadily reaches an elevation of 1,500 feet.  That effort is ultimately rewarded by mountain views.  Download a trail map here.

View from Fortune's Cove hike
I recommend hiking the circuit trail first and then stopping by the winery for a tasting, not the other way around!  Mountain Cove is Virginia's oldest active winery, founded in 1973.  The atmosphere in the tasting room is very laid back and rustic, and it is surrounded by beautiful scenery and places to picnic.  Mountain Cove's wines are of the high standard now expected from the Monticello region's vineyards.  My favorite varieties are the Tinto and Harvest Apple.

Just north of Mountain Cove, off of Route 29, is DelFosse Vineyards and Winery.  DelFosse offers French-style wine in a serene setting.  It's a somewhat newer winery, being founded in 2000.  DelFosse has wines ranging from $16 to $29 per bottle, perhaps allowing for a compromise between taste buds and wallet.  You may have a hard time finding a favorite though.

DelFosse Winery and Vineyards
The on-site hiking trail at DelFosse winds for about five miles and was built by Nelson County and the DelFosse Winery.  I believe more trails are planned.  There is also a historic log cabin which you can rent for a reasonable cost. Not far from Mountain Cove and DelFosse is Albemarle Cider Works, suppliers of local VA cider and fresh squeezed apple juice.

View from Devil's Backbone patio
While out that way you could also cut through the mountain and stop by Devil's Backbone Brewery, which has great beer amidst incredible Scandinavian-like vistas.  Multiple rugged hiking options are available at nearby Wintergreen.  Also - many other wineries and two other breweries are a short distance away.

Finally, In the Southern portion of Virginia (Halifax County) I have been wanting to visit Molliver Vineyards.  It is situated on 134 acres with primitive on-site camping (tent or RV) and has extensive trails and 12 different varieties of wine.  It's about a 2.5 hour drive from Ashland, so when I visit Molliver I will definitely camp there for the full experience.

Let me know if I've missed any VA winery/hiking combos!

1 comment:

  1. Great list of hikes. I've hiked and sipped through VA for several years, and all of these are great places to visit. There is so much great hiking in VA wine country, its not too difficult to find a good hike, and a nearby winery to visit when you are done!