Wineries come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Long gone are the days of only being able to
visit a winery in the country side. For years, urban wineries have been popping up in many of our cities and towns as a more convenient and unique way of trying a variety of wine made from grapes sourced from all over the state, country and world - but made right there in our local communities. I think it's a win-win.
Virginia has quite a few urban wineries around the state, including this one that I visit often when I am in the area. Mermaid Winery has locations in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. This weekend they had a soft grand opening of their new location in Downtown Norfolk. They recently relocated from their original location in neighboring Ghent, to a beautiful National & Historic Landmark building on the corner of Main & Granby Street. It was built in 1908 as a bank. In addition to being an urban winery, it's also a bistro, serving a delicious menu including appetizers, charcuterie boards, snacks and entrees.
Mermaid Winery sources grapes from both California and Virginia to make an array of unique wines. I enjoyed their classic flight consisting of a Reserve Chardonnay (California), "Beach Peach" - a very enjoyable Chardonnay (Virginia) with hints of peach, but it isn't sweet. It also included three reds - a Raspberry Zinfandel (Virginia), Pinot Noir (California), and a blend called "Norfolk Express" consisting of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (California) and served as a chilled Rose'.
My favorite of the evening was by far the Raspberry Zinfandel. The tartness of the fruit seemed to mellow out the Zinfandel which can sometimes be very tannic. It was light, refreshing, and fruit forward. This would be the perfect wine for someone new to trying reds.
If you're a wine lover visiting the Hampton Roads area, perhaps going to the Virginia Beach oceanfront or happen to be in Norfolk for work or pleasure, this is definitely a place to put on your must-do list. The Virginia Beach location is located off of Shore Drive, about 15 minutes to the oceanfront.