Let’s be honest. Wine is intimidating. Sniffing, swirling, tannins, red versus white, where are Norton grapes grown again, and what do you mean I’m not holding the glass correctly? Fortunately, there are wine experts right under your novice nose all over Virginia, but quite possibly, Staunton has more opportunities for a quick wine 101 than any other city in the Shenandoah Valley.
LEWIS CREEK MARKET | 300 CHURCH STREET
This old-is-new-again establishment is sweetly situated in an old livery stable with a gated patio for your enjoyment. More than 20 wines from around the world are available by the glass each day and hundreds more are in stock. The day you want to find yourself at Lewis Creek is Monday, for it is then between 4:30 and 6:30 (most Mondays) that a FREE educational tasting is offered. Monday doesn’t suit? No problem. For just $5 you can sample four wines another day.
Hours: Monday 10:30-6:30; Wednesday 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:30-5:30
OX-EYE VINEYARDS TASTING ROOM | 44 MIDDLEBROOK AVENUE
The renovated 1904 coal office in the Wharf District is where you’ll find Ox-Eye’s tasting room. Fresh and airy, it’s a great place to learn the ins and outs of wine, and how to taste it. The selection at Ox-Eye features their very own estate-grown wine. Tastings are offered in two tiers at $5 or $7 per person.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 12-6; Friday 12-7; Saturday 10-7
YELPING DOG | 9 EAST BEVERLY STREET
More than 1500 bottles of wine are available at Yelping Dog and a weekly wine-by-the-glass menu introduces you to something new often. Wine tastings are available from time to time. There is no fee, but a donation to the local SPCA is suggested and hoped for. Monitor their Facebook page for tasting announcements.
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 11-9; Friday through Saturday 11-10; Sunday 12-6
THE WINE CELLAR | 8 BYERS STREET
Fridays are Wine Cellar days with a different sommelier each week to roll out something new and tasty from 5 to 8 p.m. The Cellar is full of countless bottles of wine from all over the world: Virginia, West Coast, European, Argentinian … you ask and chances are, you can receive.
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10-6
THE STAUNTON ABBEY TAPHOUSE | 2217 NORTH AUGUSTA STREET
The Abbey is a restaurant, but don’t be fooled. More than 200 bottles of wine are in the house and tastings are offered every Friday and Saturday, alternating with the extensive craft beer selection, of course. Need help pairing a wine with a menu item? The staff knows just what to offer.
Hours: Monday through Saturday 11-9
Up for a quick drive from downtown? Barren Ridge Vineyards is the closest winery to Staunton, less than 10 miles away in Fishersville. Situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the view from their patio. Tastings rotate weekly. Reserve tasting (eight wines) are $8 per person. If you know you like red or white, try a flight of four red or white for $5 per person. Traveling in a group of 8 or more? You win the group tasting with special seating at a rate of $10 per person (please call ahead).
Address: 984 Barren Ridge Road, Fishersville, VA 22939
Hours: Monday through Wednesday 11-6; Thursday through Saturday 11-9; Sunday 1-6