Talking wine in the drawing room of an early-1800's manor house, Oriental rug beneath your feet and crystal chandelier overhead,it's easy to find yourself thoroughly seduced by Valerie Hill.
You hope that the wine lives up to the surroundings, and you aren't disappointed. You wonder if the grapes are, in fact, from Virginia, and are assured that they are, as owners Shawn Steffey and Tyler Newcome give passionate testimony to their Virginia-grown commitment.
You hear the squealed "Hi!" greetings of wine club members who've stopped in for the barbecue grilling out back, and the owners' easy “Hey, Carl. You all doing a tasting today?" to a couple of familiar newcomers, and you wish you lived nearby.
Valerie Hill still feels like the home it once was, with welcoming spaces for tasting, lounging, buying. A screened porch, quintessential South, is draped in linen, old wooden floors creak underfoot. Everything smells of pine.
Justin Bogaty of Veramar and Bogati Bodega handles winemaking duties, pursuing what Shawn describes as a New World preference: light or neutral oaks, fruit forward, acidic finish. The Seyval Blanc is all of that -- bright, lemony, crisp. The unusual-for-Virginia Riesling is from Shenandoah Valley grapes, and the off-dry Cameo Rose', just released the day before, is a sure sell-out by summer's end. A cellar-worthy Merlot stands out among the reds.
Valerie Hill welcomes kids, pets, and picnics, as well as weddings and private events. Groups of 8 or more are (kindly) asked to call ahead for a reservation.
The winery offers a popular "History and Hauntings" dinner occasionally, which includes a seated dinner, glass of wine, and tour of the historic house with tales of its centuries of hauntings. Check the website for dates and pricing.
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