I love this quirky little boutique winery out in the middle of nowhere in Virginia (5898 Free Union Rd, Free Union, VA 22940). The closest city would be historical Charlottesville where the University Of Virginia (founded by Thomas Jefferson) is located. The tasting area is in an odd little building. The place can only be described as eclectic. The entrance is a big glass enclosed "greenhouse" like structure where they have banana plants and tropical flora. In the glass house structure they have tables in among the plants, where you can sit an enjoy a glass of wine, and they often have some live music. Evidentially the owners are Ohio natives that spent many years in Honduras and wanted to bring that tropical feeling back to the states with them. They wanted to be involved in agriculture and explore their creativity, so they decided on Virginia and a vineyard. Attached to the glass house is the more traditional setup for a tasting with a bar. A wall of sliding doors can open up fully in warm weather that leads out to a raised deck. The grape vines wind around most sides of the building and in the back there is a yard with a few picnic tables down by a pond. The building is not beautiful, but it is interesting. There is not any particular style...just an odd mishmash of decors. As would be expected, they are dog friendly.
The staff is very enthusiastic about their product. It is a small family run operation and the staff seems to feel they are a part of that family (and indeed some may be). They were very knowledgeable, helpful and outgoing. It has a real "arts and crafts" feel with sculptures and crafty knickknacks all over. They seemed to love their job and that exuberance was contagious. They make their own homemade chocolate too. They have a dessert port style wine called Ancora Meglio, where they infuse 83% dark chocolate (most places use chocolate flavoring) into the alcohol and then drain off the wine infused chocolate to make their candy. A box of their artisan candy (12 to 16 pieces) is about $21 and a bottle of the chocolate port is $25.
The signature of the Glass House Winery is their own wine bottles that use an air tight glass stopper in the bottle instead of corks. The unusual bottles makes (as well as its contents) for great gifts. The glass stopper fits most wine bottles and so can be reused to seal opened bottles. The owners are in the design process of building a new structure made from empty bottles.
They have a very small refrigerator with a few food items to purchase, but what was different from the other wineries is that they have a gourmet food truck (not owned by the winery) that pulls up at lunch time and plugs into their electricity. I had the soft taco with fried breaded cod fish, in a chipotle and fresh cilantro sauce. It that was very good. Everyone was very pleased with their meal. A food truck just seemed a perfect match to this eccentric little place.
They had 7 wines and 2 were sold out (this is very common in the small batch local wineries). The bottle prices ranged from $15 to $25 I would describe all their wines favorably, particularly their whites. They had a 100% Viognier 2011 that was 100% estate grown, a Piont Gris, and Vino Signora which was a hybrid Gewurztraminer. Of their red wines they had 21st (named for the 21st Amendment - repeal of prohibition) which is a Bordeaux blend of Cab Franc and Merlot, the C-Villian (named for their neighbors in Charlottesville and locals often refer to as C-ville) that is a blend of Chambourcin, cab Franc and Merlot.
I highly recommend this quirky little spot. Although it is not traditionally "Virginian" in its feel, it is the epitome of everything great about discovering small little wineries. Unfortunately, it is not really located close to anything else if you are trying to hit several wineries, but it is a good destination location for a few hours to kick back, eat, and enjoy all that creativity buzzing about. They do have a small B&B on the property, but I did not get the chance to visit it.
Unique Luxuries that Virginia offers, a continuing quest to share the local state gems with my global luxury connoisseur following. Look for more upcoming features and Google already published ones under "Lorre White, Virginia Wineries, Luxuries, Travel"
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Lorre White, has been a international luxury marketing expert for 2 decades and is the founder of White Light Consulting an international luxury marketing consulting firm working with luxury brands to reach the world's wealthiest 1%. She is the founder of a luxury blog with an exclusive UHNW following www.LuxGuru.Typepad.com and the only internationally recognized luxury media personality “The Luxury Guru”. Lorre frequently contributes to luxury magazines globally, including having had her own monthly column in Portugal’s #1 rate luxury magazine. For more information just Google her. Twitter:@Lorre or sign up top left under the photo www.LuxGuru.Typepad.com
Links To Virginia Winery Articles by Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru"
Afton Mountain Winery: Lorre White "The Luxury Guru" visits Afton Mountain Vineyard in Virginia. http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/lorre-white-the-luxury-guru-visits-afton-mountain-vineyard-in-virginia.html
Barboursville Winery: Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru" says Virginia's Barboursville Winery is a 'Must See' http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/lorre-white-the-luxury-guru-says-virginias-barboursville-winery-is-a-must-see.html
Barren Ridge Winery: Lorre White "The Luxury Guru" visits Barren Ridge Winery in the Shenandoah Valley. http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/lorre-whit-the-luxury-guru-visits-barren-ridge-winery-in-the-shenandoah-valley.html
Cardinal Point Winery: Cardinal Point wines were terrific says Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru" http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/cardinal-point-wines-were-terrific-says-lorre-white-the-luxury-guru.html
Early Mountain Winery: Steve Case, the Ambassador for Virginia Wines by Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru" http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/11/steve-case-the-ambassador-for-virginia-wines-by-lorre-white-the-luxury-guru.html
Flying Fox Winery: The Flying Fox Wines get a good review from "The Luxury Guru", Lorre White http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/11/the-flying-fox-wines-get-a-good-review-from-the-luxury-guru-lorre-white.html
Glass House Winery: Lorre White "The Luxury Guru" says Glass House Winery On The Monticello Wine Trail is wonderfully quirky place and a must visit for wine enthusiasts. http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/11/lorre-white-the-luxury-guru-says-glass-house-winery-on-the-monticello-wine-trail-is-wonderfully-quirky-place-and-a-must-vis.html
Jefferson Winery: Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru" rates the Jefferson winery as a SKIP. http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/lorre-white-the-luxury-guru-rates-the-jefferson-winery-as-a-skip.html
King's Family Winery: Lorre White visits King Family Vineyards in Virginia. http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/09/lorre-white-visits-king-family-vineyards-in-virginia.html
Pippin Hill Winery: Pippin Hill Winery in Virginia gets good marks from Lorre White,"The Luxury Guru".http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/pippin-hill-winery-in-virginia-gets-good-marks-from-lorre-whitethe-luxury-guru.html
Pollack Winery: "The Luxury Guru", Lorre White, Give A Neutral Review To Pollack Winery In Virginia.http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/11/the-luxury-guru-lorre-white-give-a-neutral-review-to-pollack-winery-in-virginia.html
Trump Winery: Virginia's Trump Winery reviewed by Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru"http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/virginias-trump-winery-reviewed-by-lorre-white-the-luxury-guru.html
Veritas Winery: Veritas Virginia Winery visited by Lorre White, "The Luxury Guru". http://luxguru.typepad.com/lorre_white_the_luxury_gu/2013/10/veritas-virginia-winery-visted-by-lorre-white-the-luxury-guru-.html