This week my best friend and goddaughter are visiting from Miami. We decided to go out for a wine tasting at Williamsburg Winery. I haven’t been to a wine tasting, much less a vineyard since moving back Stateside from Italy last year. The drive to Williamsburg Winery on this particular autumn afternoon was lovely as the leaves on the trees were dressed in the color of sunsets.
The property itself is located on the Wessex Hundred Farm. When you first arrive, y
I wanted to have an open mind and not compare the wines produced by the Williamsburg Winery to the amazing wine I enjoyed while living in Europe. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’m happy to report the wine I sampled from
What I found absent with respect to first impressions was the lack of warmth from their employees. We got none. Williamsburg Winery right off the bat received a zero with respect to their hospitality. We weren’t welcomed in, and I had to stand in line and basically figure out where I was supposed to go to pay for my wine tasting (hint it’s the room
Our party consisted of three adults: myself, my husband who was our designated driver, and my friend Michelle, her daughter and our three children. My daughter was in a stroller. The staff member who helped me complete my purchase informed me there was a seating area for children and non-drinkers. There are a few stairs you have to navigate – to actually get into the tasting room. The staff member seeing my stroller didn’t inform me of a ramp or other means to enter the tasting room; if there was one, I couldn’t speak to it. We were left to our own devices to get into the tasting area. My husband helped me hoist up our stroller the few steps that led into the tasting room. This was a bit annoying, not because I had to lift my stroller up a few steps, but because there was no customer service, not even an offer to help lift the stroller, which would’ve been appreciated and politely declined since we’re more than capable of doing this ourselves.
In Europe, many of the vineyards I visited, welcomed you in like old friends and had places for children to play which included playgrounds, or swing sets or even a few toys or crayons and paper.
The area for the non-drinkers is basically a few tables and chairs off to the sides. I have to mention there are two places on the property you can buy food or lunch, I learned this by overhearing other guests. I totally understand a winery need not be kid-friendly and making your establishment as non-child friendly as possible (including the absence of baby changing tables in the restroom off of the tasting area), but not doing more to make your guests (all of them) feel more welcome and appreciated I found distasteful.
The tasting area is standing room only, which is pretty standard. I hope they do have stools available for guests should they need it. I didn’t see any, but I also didn’t ask about this or purposefully look for them. Tables are set on wine barrels which was fun. I would’ve loved to have had the fireplace crackling, for my friend because fireplaces are scarce in Miami, but alas it wasn’t exactly “fireplace” cold on the day we visited. The tasting room itself is spacious and reflects the “old world” style of the facade. The area was clean, inviting. and felt cozy despite its large size.
The tasting room staff was much more cordial. We had one lovely young lady approach us because my husband was wearing a Yankees baseball cap, and she asked where we were from; as she herself was from the Bronx. Of all the staff she was the most friendly and the one person who FINALLY made us feel welcome and like we were actually wanted there. It was at this point, where I began to feel like, maybe this experience wasn’t going to be a total downer.
The tasting room staff were knowledgeable enough to tell us about what flavors we may taste, and what mixtures were in the blended wines. As far as informing as to what part of the States grapes were grown (when they weren’t grown on their estate or in Virginia) was unavailable – not a big deal as most people don’t really care about this sort of thing.
They do have a class you can take to learn more about wines. This is something I was excited to see, and I think I would want to take. I love learning about wine.
About halfway through our selections, my husband took the kiddos outside to walk the property while Michelle and I finished up our tasting. I was concerned they would get restless and begin to disturb the other guests. As I mentioned before this winery is not kid-friendly. It doesn’t even try to be. If you have an older child who wouldn’t mind sitting for about an hour, then bring them along, but bring snacks and something to entertain them.
Now for the wine. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. Their wine was good. I enjoyed all of my selections and the few sips I had of my friend’s choices. They have a wide variety of offerings including sweet dessert wines. I stuck mostly to the drier whites and reds but did sample one dessert wine.
My favorite wine was the Adagio. It most reminded me of wines I could find in Italy like one of my favorite wines from Italy produced by Bessich wines called a Novello. The bottle of Adagio would’ve set me back $75.00. It stayed at the winery considering my cash of Italian and European wine is still quite plentiful. However, if you would like to try a bottle of wine from Williamsburg Winery the “ J. Andrewes Merlot” was delicious and is affordably priced at $13.00 a bottle.
If red wine isn’t your thing I would suggest you try their “A Midsummer Night’s White” (love that name!) I tried a sip of my friend’s, and it was sweet and fruity and easy to enjoy. I liked the James River White the best.
The Petit Manseng I also enjoyed. My friend Michelle did not. She thought it too strong. She prefers sweeter less bold wines these days.
Williamsburg Winery has a large selection of wines, and you’re sure to find a selection to suit your pallet.
Overall I would recommend a stop at the Williamsburg Winery. Go for the ambiance and the wine -which is the true gem. Don’t expect too much from the staff who I’m in no way bashing. They were never rude or impolite, but had they been a tad bit more welcoming or at least had a person greet me as I walked through the door, would’ve made my experience pretty perfect. In the future, I hope to try one of their two restaurants-sans the kids.