Editor’s note—If you’re looking for more Charlottesville recommendations, I’ve got a full Charlottesville Guide, and shared some other Charlottesville recs in these posts: Afton Mountain Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards + A Few Charlottesville Restaurant Recs, King Family Vineyards + A Few More Cville Restaurant Recs, and A Girls’ Weekend in Charlottesville.
Happy Monday! Already thinking about next weekend? (#same girl, #same)
I’ve got the perfect weekend escape for you ladies in driving distance of Charlottesville, Virginia: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. This winery has been a favorite of mine since college, so when I went to this weekend to visit my sister who’s in grad school at UVA, I knew exactly where we would be spending our afternoon. We made the right choice, as this weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Of course, I said that about last weekend too, when I was also coincidentally in Charlottesville. Maybe I should consider the common denominator there ;].
Though I usually head down to Charlottesville from Arlington on Friday after work, the easy two-hour drive quickly escalates to three or even four hours, depending on how much Friday traffic there is and if there are any accidents. Because I had a midterm due today, I opted to spend Friday night in Arlington to finish up my homework (#rage), and hit the road around 8 am on Saturday morning to best maximize my time. Even though it was a Cavalier football game day, I arrived around 10:45 am, picked up my sister, and off to Pippin Hill we went.
Pippin Hill’s tasting room opens at 11 am, and because of the vineyard’s popularity, it fills up fast on weekends. Once they reach maximum capacity, it works like a bar: you can’t enter until someone leaves. So, if you’re wanting to post up for the whole day and take advantage of the wonderful wine and stunning Blue Ridge views, definitely get there within the first hour or so of opening.
If you have a party of 8 or more, you can make a reservation for a table on their patio or in the tasting room. If you’re party is smaller, all tables are on a first-come, first-serve basis, and there is a host you can check in with when you arrive. Of course, it’s much less crowded during the week, so if that is an option for you, definitely consider a weekday. We used to come here many a Tuesday in college, and never had to wait once for a table. However, you don’t need a table to do a tasting, buy glasses or bottles, and relax on the grounds, so don’t let the crowds discourage you!
Pippin Hill pro-tip—all the bartenders have blankets you can borrow. Despite the heavy winds and chilly fall air, my sister and I sat outside on one for two hours Saturday, and not having to sit on the dewy grass was a lifesaver.
In lieu of a tasting this go-around, my sister and I opted for glasses of the Sauvignon Blanc. In college, my favorite was the Viognier, which happens to be the state grape of Virginia, but I’ve been on a big Sauvignon Blanc kick lately and this one didn’t disappoint. There are three bars on the outside patio which all serve up tastings, bottles, and glasses. For chillier days, or if the patio is too crowded, there are also several bars in the tasting room. If you can, sneak a peak into the event space just to the right of the main tasting room—they are almost always setting up for a wedding on weekends and I can only hope I am invited to one there someday!
Though my sister and I didn’t eat at Pippin Hill this go-around, I would highly recommend their food. Plus, eating and drinking is more fun than just drinking! ;] The owners of Pippin Hill also own the Zero George Hotel in Charleston and Red Pump Kitchen in Charlottesville, so they have a wonderful farm-to-table food philosophy and are known for their dining and hospitality experiences. I can personally attest Pippin Hill has one of the best cheese plates around! A note that because of their strong positioning as a culinary vineyard, they do not allow outside food—but once you see another table with Pippin Hill food and a few bottles open, those Trader Joe’s goat cheese rounds will be the farthest thing from your mind.