Before you go, you should know that, on Saturday and Sunday, Linden now restricts its decks and lawn areas to wine club members only. (To join, buy a case each year.) The general public is welcome to visit the tasting room, enjoy a reserved tasting, or take a a tour, but after that you'll have to skedaddle. (Fridays and Mondays the deck and grounds are open to everyone, in groups of no more than four.) Owner and winemaker, Jim Law, provides a respectful explanation for this unusual policy on his website: "In order to keep Linden small, focused, peaceful and in harmony with farming and our community, we have limited activities that are commonly associated with other wineries."
It's likely that Linden is just the first of many Northern Virginia and Charlottesville-area wineries who'll try to balance the impact of the winery tourism explosion in the coming years. Like Napa and Sonoma before them, some established and successful Virginia wineries are struggling to welcome a growing horde of visitors without having the whole thing turn into a crazed bachelorette party gone bad.
Jim Law is the right man to take the first step: when we began visiting wineries in earnest a dozen years ago, Law had already been making wine for more than a decade.The Washington Post's Dave McIntyre called him "the oracle of the Virginia wine industry". Take a look at the wine list on the Linden web site--you'll see not only the price and food pairings, but also notes about the vineyard, the growing year, and the wine making. And if you're looking for a concise background on winemaking in Virginia over the years, don't miss
Tastings are $7, and a special reserve cellar tasting is available for $25, which you can sign up for when you arrive. It happens hourly from 12 to 4.
A free, educational tour of the vineyard and cellar begins at 11:30 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
No limos, buses, or groups of more than 4.
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