Spring Wine Festivals in Charlottesville

Ah, Spring has sprung! What better way to celebrate the season than to get outside and invigorate your senses? It's that time again: Time to smell the flora, to feel the cool, late-afternoon breezes, to delight in the pastel colors all around you, and to taste some of the Charlottesville area's finest wines. One of the most enjoyable ways to spend an afternoon in the Charlottesville area in spring is to attend one of the many local wine festivals. And there are some spectacular ones coming up. These events (see below) kick-off the local wine festival season, and are sure to be a great time.


Montpelier Wine Festival:
(Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5 at Montpelier, Montpelier Station, $15 admission fee in advance, $25 at the gate.)
Held annually on the grounds of Montpelier, the festival showcases distinctive arts and crafts; specialy food vendors; live music; "cooking with wine" classes; children's entertainment and rides; and tastings all day.

Wine Festival at Monticello:
(Saturday, May 11 at Monticello, Charlottesville, $55 admission fee.)
Some consider Thomas Jefferson the father of the Virginia wine industry, and well, that's something to celebrate! Tickets include tours of Jefferson's Monticello, live music on the West Lawn, and tastings of Virginia's most celebrated local vintages. Food available by pre-order only. Spots are limited and coveted, so reserve yours soon!

(Saturday, May 18 at DuCard Vineyards, Etlan, $10 admission fee in advance, $15 at the door.)
Wine-Appalooza is a wine, music and crafts festival located at DuCard Vineyards in Madison County (right on the edge of the iconic Shenandoah National Park!). The day will be filled with three musical acts, and you can either bring your own picnic or enjoy any number of local food vendors' cuisine. Kids get in free.

19th Annual Virginia Wine Fest:
(Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19 at Ash Lawn-Highland, Charlottesville, $15 admission fee before May 17, $20 at the door)
This weekend-long festival features many of the most-prominent local winemakers, live music, local artisans, house-tours, and a spectacular view of the countryside. It is held rain or shine, as the tasting-area is covered, and admission includes a souvenir tasting glass.

Also, if you've never been to a wine festival before, here's a list of essentials:

  • sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen -- no one wants to get a bad sunburn, so keep yourself protected

  • a straw hat -- keep that sun off your face, ears and neck

  • a blanket -- spread it out, kick back and relax with your favorite glass

  • water -- sun and wine can be dehydrating, so be sure to bring an extra bottle of water (or two)

  • camp chairs -- if you're going to be at a festival for an extended period, these are must-haves

  • a wine key -- you know you'll want to buy an elegant red or a crisp white, so best to be prepared

  • a camera -- memories of a day at a festival are wonderful reminders of your springtime visit

  • picnic basket -- be sure to check first and see if a festival allows outside food into the event; if they do, bring a snack spread to compliment your tastings

  • designated driver -- safety first!

For more festivals and events this spring, summer and beyond, be sure to check out our calendar of events and stay tuned here for more great info on wine, wine festivals and other local happenings. -- Ryan Babarsky