The holidays are in full swing in Virginia, but if you’re still struggling to find that perfect gift for friends, family, and coworkers, consider gifting a few bottles of Virginia wine! You’ll not only be choosing an excellent gift, but also supporting Virginia’s amazing wineries during COVID-19.
There are over 300 wineries around the Commonwealth, with many offering shipping, curbside pickup, and other safe delivery methods, but we’re taking a look at this year’s Governor’s Cup Case winners, a list of ten notable wineries that stood out for their exceptional Virginia wines. Grab a couple of bottles from these distinctive vineyards to share holiday cheer and check off your gift list.
Michael Shaps Wineworks—Charlottesville
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2016 Meritage
Michael Shaps is a well-known figure in the Virginia wine industry, with a background at award-winning wineries like Jefferson Vineyards and King Family Vineyards. In 2007, he opened Michael Shaps Wineworks, his own tasting room and wine production facility in Charlottesville, and in the years since he has consistently been at the forefront of great Virginia winemaking. The 2020 Governor’s Cup Gold Medal list included seven wines from Michael Shaps Wineworks: the 2017 L. Scott, 2017 Petit Verdot, 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2016 Raisin D’Etre Blanc, 2017 Meritage, and 2018 Petit Manseng.
Purchase Michael Shaps wines at Charlottesville’s Wineworks tasting room or Wineworks Extended location, at his newest vineyard addition, Shenandoah Vineyards in Edinburg (all of which are operating under COVID-19 safety rules), or buy online and have them shipped directly to your home.
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Smuggler & 2017 Cabernet Franc Reserve
Pollak Vineyards scored big in the 2020 Governor’s Cup Case, producing two of the twelve wines in this coveted annual lineup. In addition to these Cup Case winners, the winery produced three more gold medal wines in the 2020 Governor’s Cup: the 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2017 Meritage.
The winery offers curbside pickup for your holiday wine needs Wednesday through Sunday from 12-5pm, as well as allowing you to purchase many of their wines online and have them delivered right to your door.
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Vd’Or
Rockbridge Vineyard has long been a significant wine producer in Virginia, winning Best in Show in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition and taking home the prized Virginia Governor’s Cup twice. Winemaker and owner Shepherd Rouse has worked in vineyards in Germany, California, and Virginia, founding Rockbridge Vineyard in 1988 with his wife, Jane Millott-Rouse.
The winery ships to many states, allowing you to send the gift of Virginia wine to friends who may not be able to visit for the holidays this year due to COVID-19. For curbside pickup or shipping within Virginia, call the winery to place your order.
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2014 Octagon & 2018 Vermentino Reserve
Photo Credit: Fred DeSousa
Between owner Gianni Zonin and world-renowned winemaker Luca Paschina, Barboursville Vineyards has an abundance of viticultural knowledge that has resulted in yearly gold medal wins (and in most years, featured in the prestigious Cup Case) at the Governor’s Cup Awards for nearly a decade. While Octagon is the annually-produced wine they are best known for, there are many superior wines worth sampling at this Central Virginia winery.
Stop into the winery tasting room, which is open during select hours daily, to pick out your holiday presents, or order wines online if you can’t make it to the vineyard. If you purchase a dozen bottles of wines on the winery website, shipping is free (in most states) and you’ll also receive 10% off your order, so check multiple people off your gift list and consider saving a few bottles for your own holiday enjoyment!
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Williams Gap
Photo Credit: Eric Weiss
Delaplane Cellars has been a staple in the Northern Virginia wine business since 2007, but just last year, the original owners sold the property to two couples that had long been fans of Delaplane Cellars. Visitors who had enjoyed the wines produced at the vineyard in the past have no reason to worry about the transition, however, as this year’s Delaplane Cellars win in the Governor’s Cup Case proves. The new owners honor the winemaking traditions that made Delaplane Cellars a must-try for Virginia wine lovers, producing singular vintages that make for fantastic presents.
Purchase wines or gift cards online, or swing by the winery for curbside pickup, available Monday through Thursday 11am-5pm and Friday through Sunday 11am-6pm.
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Shenandoah Reserve Red
Another Michael Shaps victory this year came from his newest wine endeavor of Shenandoah Vineyards. While the winery is the second oldest active winery in Virginia (established in 1988), Shaps acquired it in 2018, recognizing the high quality of the soil and growing conditions in the region that made the wines at Shenandoah Vineyards exceptional. His vast knowledge and decades of skill in the winemaking industry have contributed to the continued success of the winery, and he has added several new grape varietals to the vineyard to expand their offerings.
Order online or visit the winery daily from 11am to 5pm to pick up wines for your friends and family.
868 Estate Vineyards—Purcellville
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Vidal Blanc
Another star in the Northern Virginia wine industry is 868 Estate Vineyards, established in 2012 with ten acres of vines, which increased to 22 acres in 2018. The winery has several notable varietals currently available for purchase online, including Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, and Chardonnay, as well as carefully crafted wine blends like their NV Grandale, a balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Not sure what your gift recipients enjoy drinking? You can also support the winery by purchasing a gift card which will be shipped free of charge and can be redeemed online or in person at the winery or the on-site restaurant during a future visit.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards—North Garden
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Petit Verdot
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards won three gold medals in this year’s Governor’s Cup for their 2017 Petit Verdot (their Cup Case winner), 2017 Wild Common Reserve, and 2016 Easton Blue. The winery is run by husband and wife team Dean Andrews and Lynn Easton, but the man behind the wine is none other than Virginia wine extraordinaire Michael Shaps. His vision shines through in all the wines you’ll find at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.
Bottles of Pippin Hill wines can be picked up from the winery Tuesday through Sunday 11am-6pm and during extended evening hours select Thursdays through Saturdays, although they will have limited hours around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Online ordering is also available for gift cards, individual bottles, cases, and limited edition wine bundles.
Lake Anna Winery—Spotsylvania Courthouse
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Tannat
Lake Anna Winery has been growing grapes since 1983, when the owners started the vineyard with about 2,000 Seyval Blanc and 250 Cabernet Sauvignon vines. The yield from the first crops were sold to other Virginia wineries, but as they began expanding the vineyard, the focus shifted to starting their own winery and tasting room, which was eventually opened in 1990. They expanded the winery in 2000 with a new multi-use tasting room, a climate-controlled warehouse, and a new tank room and crush pad to increase their production capabilities, and brought on winemaker Graham Bell in 2001.
With over 30 years in the winemaking industry, Lake Anna Winery produces a diverse lineup of rich, complex wines that are thoughtfully blended. Order online and get a 10% discount on cases, or opt for individual bottles to pick out wines that suit the tastes of your gift recipients and get free shipping on orders of three bottles or more. If you’re near the winery, stop in to purchase bottles Wednesday through Saturday 11am-5pm and Sunday 1-5pm, or call in an order for curbside pickup, available 12-3pm Wednesday through Sunday.
Afton Mountain Vineyards—Afton
Governor’s Cup Case Winner: 2017 Tradition
Photo Credit: Steven Morris
The owners of Afton Mountain Vineyards both grew up in Charlottesville and have lifelong ties to the region, even getting married at the University of Virginia Chapel. These strong local bonds led them to open the winery in 2009, and their deep understanding of the terroir found around the Blue Ridge Mountains has resulted in Governor’s Cup medals every year from 2014 to 2020, with their 2017 Tradition wine (a classic Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot) making it into the prestigious Governor’s Cup Case in 2020.
Order bottles of Afton Mountain Vineyards wine online and get it shipped directly to yourself, your friends, and your family members, or grab your order from the winery with curbside pickup Thursday through Saturday 12-5pm. The winery tasting room is also open for bottle sales Thursday through Sunday 11am-5pm, which will change to Friday through Sunday 11am-5pm after January 2nd.
Nearly all of Virginia’s wineries are offering contactless or curbside pickup, and many offer direct shipping, allowing you to get your holiday gifts without ever leaving the house. Order a few bottles from your favorite wineries to support Virginia’s vineyards and give one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season!