Some of the best things in life are often found along the road less traveled and Chatham Vineyards on Virginia’s beautiful Eastern Shore is no exception to this rule.
Take a short detour off Highway 13 in Machipongo and you’ll discover the historic property nestled between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. There is something distinctive and special about the terroir on the Eastern Shore. The wines tend to have a mineral driven character and a kiss of salinity. Add a moderate maritime climate and sandy loam soils to the mix and you have a winning recipe. Second-generation winemaker Jon Wehner and his family are taking full advantage of these precious assets and turning a 400 year-old farm into world-class wine.
The award winning Steel Chardonnay is always a crowd favorite and pairs perfectly with delicious Eastern Shore oysters. If it grows together, it often goes together! At $17 bottle, this is also a great option to have on hand all summer long. It’s delicious with salads, shellfish and an array of seafood. Check out my review of the 2012 Steel Chardonnay on my website www.crystalpalate.com for tasting notes and perfect pairings.
Chatham also offers an oaked Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, a Bordeaux-style blend and a late harvest wine. From April through December, the Wehners offer daily tastings from 10am-5pm for a $3 tasting fee.
In addition to the daily tastings, Chatham offers several events throughout the year including a summer concert series, an oyster extravaganza each November highlighting the terroir and merroir of the Eastern Shore and a winery kayak tour (Paddle Your Glass Off) through a partnership with SouthEast Expeditions. Tickets for the kayak tour are $85 per person and include a bottle of wine, paddling gear and instruction. There’s nothing better than spending a gorgeous day on the Chesapeake Bay sipping on a great glass of wine.
So what are you waiting for? Why not take a leisurely drive this holiday weekend along route 13 and join the Wehner’s for a taste of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with the Wehner family about the history of Chatham Vineyards. Watch my mini-documentary to learn more about this hidden gem in our own backyard.
Chatham Vineyards is located at 9232 Chatham Road, Machipongo, VA 23405.