The Virginia Holidays are in full swing, but if you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift for friends, family, and co-workers, consider giving away a few bottles of Virginia wine! Not only will you be choosing an excellent gift, but you will be helping Virginia’s amazing wineries during COVID-19.
There are over 300 wineries in the Commonwealth, many of which offer shipping, roadside collection, and other secure shipping methods. However, we take a look at this year’s Governor’s Cup Case winners, a list of ten notable wineries that have distinguished Virginia wines for their exceptional quality. Pick up a few bottles from these distinctive vineyards to share vacation joy and check off your gift list.
Michael Shaps Wineworks – Charlottesville
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2016 Meritage
Michael Shaps is a well-known personality in the Virginia wine industry, with a background in award-winning wineries such as Jefferson Vineyards and King Family Vineyards. In 2007, he opened Michael Shaps Wineworks, his own tasting room and winemaking facility in Charlottesville, and in the years since then has been a leader in Virginia winemaking. Seven wines from Michael Shaps Wineworks were on the gold medal list of the Governor’s Cup 2020: L. Scott 2017, Petit Verdot 2017, Cabernet Franc 2017, Rosine D’Etre Blanc 2017, Meritage 2017 and Petit Manseng 2018.
Buy Michael Shaps wines in Charlottesville’s Wineworks tasting room or Wineworks Extended location in his newest winery, Shenandoah Vineyards in Edinburgh (all per COVID-19 safety rules) or buy online and have them delivered straight to your home.
Pollak Vineyards – Greenwood
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Smuggler & 2017 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Pollak Vineyards achieved great success in the 2020 Governor’s Cup fall, producing two of the twelve wines in this coveted annual lineup. In addition to these Cup Case winners, the winery produced three more gold medal wines in the Governor’s Cup 2020: the Cabernet Franc 2017, the Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and the Meritage 2017.
The winery offers roadside pick-up for your holiday wine needs from Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. You can also buy many of their wines online and have them delivered straight to your door.
Rockbridge Vineyard – Raphine
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Vd’Or
Rockbridge Vineyard has long been a major wine producer in Virginia, winning Best in Show in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and taking home the award-winning Virginia Governor’s Cup twice. The winemaker and owner Shepherd Rouse has worked in vineyards in Germany, California and Virginia and founded Rockbridge Vineyard in 1988 with his wife Jane Millott-Rouse.
The winery ships to many states so you can send the gift of Virginia wine to friends who may not be able to visit on vacation this year due to COVID-19. For roadside pickup or shipping within Virginia, call the winery to place your order.
Barboursville Vineyards – Barboursville
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2014 Octagon & 2018 Vermentino Reserve
Photo credit: Fred DeSousa
Between owner Gianni Zonin and world-famous winemaker Luca Paschina, Barboursville Vineyards has a wealth of winemaking expertise that has resulted in annual gold medal wins (and in most years in the prestigious cup case) at the Governor’s Cup Awards for almost a decade. While Octagon is the annually produced wine they are best known for, there are many superior wines at this Central Virginia winery that are well worth trying.
Visit the winery’s tasting room, which is open daily at certain times, to pick out your Christmas gifts, or order wines online if you can’t make it to the vineyard. When you buy a dozen bottles of wine from the winery’s website, shipping is free (in most states) and you get 10% off your order. So check several people off your gift list and save a few bottles of holiday treat for yourself!
Delaplane Basement – Delaplane
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Williams Gap
Photo credit: Eric Weiss
Delaplane Cellars has been an integral part of the Northern Virginia wine business since 2007. It wasn’t until last year that the original owners sold the property to two couples who had long been fans of Delaplane Cellars. However, visitors who have enjoyed the wines produced in the vineyard in the past have no reason to worry about the transition, as evidenced by Delaplane Cellars’ win this year in the Governor’s Cup Case. The new owners honor the winemaking traditions that made Delaplane Cellars a must for Virginia wine lovers, and produce unique vintages that make fantastic gifts.
Buy wines or gift cards online or visit the winery for roadside pickup, available Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Shenandoah Vineyards – Edinburgh
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Shenandoah Reserve Red
Another win for Michael Shaps that year came from his latest wine project from Shenandoah Vineyards. While the winery is the second oldest active winery in Virginia (founded in 1988), Shaps acquired it in 2018, recognizing the high quality soil and growing conditions in the area that made Shenandoah Vineyards wines exceptional. His extensive knowledge and decades of experience in the wine industry have contributed to the winery’s continued success, and he has added several new grape varieties to the vineyard to expand its range.
Order online or visit the winery daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to pick up wines for your friends and family.
868 Estate Vineyards – Purcellville
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Vidal White
Another star in the Northern Virginia wine industry is 868 Estate Vineyards, which were founded in 2012 with ten acres of vineyards and grew to 22 acres in 2018. The winery has several notable varieties currently available online including Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, and Chardonnay, as well as carefully crafted blends such as NV Grandale, a balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Not sure what your gift recipients like to drink? You can also support the winery by purchasing a gift card that is sent free of charge and can be redeemed online or in person at the winery or restaurant on site on a future visit.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards – North Garden
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Petit Verdot
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards won three gold medals in this year’s Governor’s Cup for their 2017 Petit Verdot (their Cup Case winner), 2017 Wild Common Reserve and 2016 Easton Blue. The winery is run by married couple Dean Andrews and Lynn Easton, but the man behind the wine is none other than the exceptional Virginia wine Michael Shaps. His vision is evident in all of the wines you find at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.
Bottles of Pippin Hill wines can be picked up from the winery Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. During the extended evening hours you can choose from Thursday to Saturday, although opening times are limited around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Online orders are also possible for gift cards, individual bottles, sleeves and limited edition wine packages.
Lake Anna Winery – Spotsylvania Courthouse
Governor’s Cup event winners: 2017 Tannat
The Lake Anna winery has been growing grapes since 1983 when the owners started the vineyard with around 2,000 Seyval Blanc and 250 Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The proceeds from the early harvests were sold to other Virginia wineries, but when they started expanding the vineyard, the focus shifted to starting their own winery and tasting room, which eventually opened in 1990. They expanded the winery in 2000 with a new multi-use tasting room, air-conditioned warehouse, and new tank room and crush pad to improve their production capabilities and hired winemaker Graham Bell in 2001.
With over 30 years of experience in the wine industry, Lake Anna Winery produces a diverse selection of rich, complex wines that are carefully blended. Order online and get 10% off cartons or choose individual bottles to choose wines that suit the tastes of your gift recipients and get free shipping on orders of three or more bottles. When you’re near the winery, visit bottles Wednesday through Saturday 11am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm, or order a roadside pickup available Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 3pm.
Afton Mountain Vineyards – Afton
Governor’s Cup event winners: Tradition 2017
Photo credit: Steven Morris
The owners of Afton Mountain Vineyards both grew up in Charlottesville and have lifelong relationships with the area. They even get married at the University of Virginia Chapel. These strong local ties led them to open the winery in 2009. Her deep understanding of the terroir around the Blue Ridge Mountains led to Governor’s Cup medals every year from 2014 to 2020 with her 2017 traditional wine (a classic Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot), which will be in 2020 made the prestigious Governor’s Cup Case.
Order bottles of Afton Mountain Vineyards wine online and have them shipped directly to yourself, your friends and family, or pick up your order from the winery with roadside pickup Thursday through Saturday from 12pm to 5pm. The winery tasting room is also open from Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for bottle sales, which changes from Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Almost all Virginia wineries offer contactless or roadside pickup, and many offer dropship so you can get your Christmas gifts without ever leaving your home. Order a few bottles from your favorite wineries to help support the Virginia vineyards and give unique gifts this holiday season!
Holiday Cheers: Give the Gift of Virginia Wine first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.