Williamsburg Winery

Williamsburg Winery

If you can brave the summer traffic on Interstate 64, a short drive to the The Williamsburg Winery is the perfect way to spend a leisurely weekend afternoon.

Virginia’s rich wine history dates back more than 400 years and Williamsburg Winery prides itself on  honoring the legacy of the Commonwealth’s sometimes tumultuous but emerging wine industry. I believe Thomas Jefferson is smiling down on his beloved Virginia today and beaming with pride that his dream of turning Virginia into a world-class wine destination has finally come to fruition. The winery is part of a 300-acre farm known as Wessex Hundred. This term dates back to the Colonial era.

Williamsburg Winery
A line-up of Williamsburg Wines at a recent Crystal Palate tasting event.

Owners Patrick and Peggy Duffeler have been major players in shining a beautiful spotlight on Virginia’s vines since the late 80’s. The release of Governor’s White (an American Riesling) in 1988 was an immediate success, the recipient of a Gold Medal award and still the best-selling Virginia wine in the Commonwealth. For under $10 a bottle, it’s a great little summer sipper and a perfect pairing with spicy thai food or grilled peaches wrapped in basil and prosciutto! The wine was named after Governor Berkeley, the Governor of the Virginia Colony in 17th century.  All of the wines in the Williamsburg portfolio are identified by a historical marker as part of the Duffeler family’s tradition of remembering our rich history.

Williamsburg Winery is the largest producer of wine in Virginia, producing more than 50,000 cases a year. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked in terms of quality. To make a judgement like that would be a huge mistake. While they make everyday approachable wines like the Governor’s White,  they are also producing some exceptional and complex special occasion wines. To put it in perspective, Williamsburg Winery is kind of like the Mondavi of Virginia wines.

Crystal Palate
Crystal Palate on a tour of the Williamsburg Winery.

From everyday sippers like Governor’s White to their decadently delicious Adagio, Williamsburg has a broad spectrum for every palate to choose from.  The first vintage of Adagio was released  in 2007 and it didn’t take long for the accolades to start rolling in from around the world. In fact, the 2010 Adagio was the winner of the 2014 Virginia Governor’s Cup!  The 2010 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. I recently tasted the 2012 vintage, my tasting notes are below.  The Adagio retails for $65.

The winery offers daily tastings from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. from March-December. For more details on their different tasting experiences and tour times, check out their schedule here. If you are a history buff, the wine tour of the property is a must-see!

In addition to the wine tastings and tours, you can grab a bite at one of the restaurants on property or make a weekend out of it and stay at the Wedmore Place. To learn more about the winery or purchase their wines, visit their website. Or better yet, make a short trip to the tasting room and experience the best this winery has to offer.

Crystal Palate’s Tasting Notes:

2012 Adagio (50% Petit Verdot, 50% Malbec)
This is a bold expressive wine with complex layers of red & black berries, bing cherry, summer ripe blueberries, sweet spice of cinnamon, vanilla & clove, dusty violet, chocolate covered espresso beans, toasty oak & earthy notes of forest floor and truffles.