Eerie Nights Ghost Tours aren't only eerie because they stop at historic, plausibly haunted Richmond locales on its walking and 1920s-themed trolley-ride tours. There's another creepy component?the guides. They look undead, thanks to their special-effects makeup and spooky costumes. They act it, too, showcasing their theater chops as they share their suspenseful supernatural stories about the city, like the time a local coffee shop passed off decaf as regular coffee.
Nestled into the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, CrossKeys Vineyards' flourishing grapevines and Tuscan-style winery lie surrounded by panoramic views of the Blue Mountains. The staff painstakingly tends to these fields, harvesting grapes at the peak of ripeness and stowing away their nectars in oak or stainless steel barrels to coax out the varietals' vibrant flavors. CrossKey’s experts use new and used French or American oak barrels to add extra depth and richness to their wines, mellowing the chardonnay's pear-tinged acidity with hints of vanilla, and softening the petit verdot's tannins for a silken, yet robust mouthfeel. In the tasting room, visitors can sample an array of wines while noshing on a menu of sandwiches and local cheeses, or head out onto the outdoor patio to enjoy sips amid cool breezes and birds chirping “Red, Red Wine.”
On brisk mornings, a blanket of fog descends on the valley of Monticello, covering rows of grapevines in a picturesque mist that creates compelling flavors within the grapes soon to be transformed into wine. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wisdom Oak Winery utilizes every inch of its 4-acre vineyard, which is situated on a sprawling 126-acre estate. Since 2001, the fertile pastureland has been the site of intense dedication and experimentation, resulting in high-quality varietals such as cabernet franc, chardonnay, ros?, and custom blends.
Though DuCard Vineyards has only been around a few years, its property?situated on the edge of Shenandoah National Park?has yielded grapes for the last decade. At first, they formed the flavorful foundation of pours at a nearby winery, whose product went on to win best wine in the state at the Virginia Governor?s Cup. After this, DuCard's winemakers used the grapes to craft varieties for friends and families, and growing demand virtually willed DuCard Vineyards into existence soon thereafter.
Besides its meticulously sustainable operation, DuCard's grounds host a tasting room for sampling everything from raspberry-flavored reds to whites with hints of peach and lemon peel. A "hidden gem," according to The Madison Eagle, the vineyards also host numerous year-round events, including board-game days and live music more melodious than somebody tapping an empty wineglass until it's refilled.
For Jose Morais, his winery is more than just a lifelong dream. With Morais Vineyard & Winery, he's also able to pay homage to his Portuguese roots, creating traditional libations such as jeropiga, a sweet liquor made from partially fermented red wine, and the touriga national, a full-bodied red with smoky notes that's won medals from two different wine competitions. Jose his team of the winemakers also experiment with styles and flavors, whipping up the Battlefield White from blanc and albarino grapes and conjuring aromas of smoke and ripe red fruits from the cabernet franc, which pairs well with meat dishes and Parisian accents. The winery's decor blends rustic and modern touches, from the grand ballroom decorated with marble floors and a rod-iron staircase to the tasting room, which sports a massive stone fireplace and sleek corkscrew chandeliers.
Like the tail feathers of its peacock mascot, Narmada Vineyards is best described by the colors on display at the 51-acre winery. Foremost is the verdant green of the vines, contrasted with the purple grapes and clear blue of the neighboring lake. Then there are the wines themselves, ranging in hue from deep burgundy to bright peach. And finally, there's the metallic sheen of the winery's numerous awards, an avalanche of gold from contests such as the San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Of course, a winery can't thrive on looks alone. Combining a background in chemistry with her discerning taste, winemaker Sudha Patil concocts a range of reds, whites, and dessert wines that pair readily with food. The majority of the winery's ingredients are grown on the property, with the remainder sourced from Virginian growers. These handcrafted vintages, producing a modest 3,000 cases per year, are poured inside a rustic tasting room decorated with leather couches, hardwood furniture, and large windows.