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Updated: May 9, 2023

The last time I stepped foot on a Virginia winery property was March 15th. The very next day, the state of Virginia and most of the country went into quarantine mode in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March, I’ve been blessed to continue working from home, and thus made it my personal duty to support as many Virginia wineries and small businesses as I possibly could.

Thanks to Nancy Bauer and her VA Wine in my Pocket website and Covid-19 Support Virginia Wine Facebook group, there has been no shortage of information about how to support the wineries. I’ve been able to stay up on the wine specials, shipping details, and delivery / pick up options from so many of my favorites and many Virginia wineries that I hadn’t yet tried.

But this week things have started to change, slightly! Some Virginia wineries began opening to outside visitors only and with many Covid-19 response policies and procedures in place. And, the wineries in Northern Virginia start to open up this weekend, following the same “phase 1” rules such as only outdoor seating.

Because I couldn’t possibly wait until Saturday to revisit my happy place, I grabbed my cousin who is home from college and we took a short 50 minute drive out to Upperville, Virginia to visit Slater Run Vineyards. This was the closest one to us that was open, and actually is one of my favorites. This particular winery is taking reservations only and has plenty of outside seating options. We were lucky to have the place nearly to ourselves but we had to keep our fingers crossed that the forecasted thunderstorms would stay at bay (which they did!).

With it being a pretty warm and humid day, I chose to enjoy their deliciously crisp and tart 2018 Rose’ – made from the Cabernet Franc grape, this wine is delicate yet bold. My cousin is a new wine drinker and still prefers hers very sweet, so she got a bottle of the signature dessert wine, Annee 2013, from their French winemaker’s home vineyard in Monbazillac, France. It’s made from Semillon (60%), Sauvignon Blanc (30%) and Muscadelle (10%). I of course came home with a few other bottles to enjoy, including their new ‘no sulfate’ Cabernet Franc. I can’t wait to try that.

I must say it was a wonderful way to “ease” back into my beloved wine scene. We are all in uncharted territory and a lot of these new ways of doing things are going to take some getting used to. I think it’s important that we all just take baby steps and be patient with the wineries as well. They are doing the best that they can.

This weekend I have plans to hit a few that are opening in Northern Virginia and I am so very excited. If you plan on doing so please be sure to check their websites as many are taking reservations only for specific time slots.


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