It is only fitting that the first post on this Virginia Wine Blog be about the winery where my wine-ucation began. Oh sure, I have enjoyed wine for a long time, but we’re talking about the bartender recommended during happy hour or what the group was drinking at dinner or maybe even the bottle that was on sale at the supermarket.
I had tasted some good wines and some BAD wines, but couldn’t remember tasting any wines that I loved enough to remember by name. I mean who can keep track of whether you liked the 2012 Cab Sav or 2013? I never could…though I suppose you might argue now that I just hadn’t enough interest to try.
My experience at Stone Tower changed that for me and wine became more of a passion than a beverage.
We were driving on 15 and saw the camp sign pointing to the winery which instantly made me think of Girl Scout Camp when I was a kid. Neither of us had ever noticed the sign before and hadn’t heard of the winery. Waiting for the car in front of us to turn, we made the quick decision to go check it out.
Recently engaged we had been thinking about a winery for the wedding so of course, this was an entirely justifiable detour from lunch – it was wedding research!!
Up the winding hill we drove, following the dirt road through acres of farm pasture when the landscape opened to a beautiful rustic barn on a hill. Now mind you about a mile up the hill we started wondering where exactly we were going but once we saw the barn, we were pretty excited. We followed the signs to the tasting room which doubled as the tank room.
The tasting room was busy but not overly crowded, so we found a spot quickly. Sadly, I cannot remember the pourers name but she was super friendly, knowledgeable and despite the crowd made us feel like we had her complete attention. Kris and I were both surprised that we had not heard of this place before…EVERY wine we tasted that day we liked. I was particularly surprised since back then I was not fond of white wine. Apparently, I just hadn’t tried the right ones yet.
I had never considered being a wine club member – frankly, it was just not on my radar, and then there is the expense. I don’t know that I had ever tasted a wine brand with multiple types that I liked enough to buy on a regular basis. If I am being honest, I was excited about the idea of being a “wine club member” it seemed fancy and I was excited that this may be a great way to learn more about wine.
The pourer suggested we talk to the woman at the register and she would answer our questions about the club and get our email to send us wedding information. That’s when we met Sarah and any doubts about joining the wine club disappeared after talking with her.
Sarah described a variety of member events including barrel tastings with the winemaker, wine education, and food pairings among others. She told us about weddings at the winery and answered some questions. Sarah was so friendly and helpful that first day, and it has been the same every time we see her.
They offer Somminars periodically facilitated by Jeremy, one of the managers. These are a great place to meet other members and enjoy food pairings as you get a sneak peek at new wines before they are released. Tim, the winemaker is there to talk about the process of making the different wines and answer questions.
We quickly learned as members at Stone Tower you become part of the family. The owners Mike and Kristi can often be seen around the grounds and at events. They are so approachable and will sit down and visit when they can. The winery has grown over the past few years both in size and visitors but despite the growth, we see the same staff time after time, and everyone remains dedicated to making all the guests feel welcome.
And…not to spoil the ending to the story but after a few months of further wedding research (read: lots of wine tasting!!) we ended up back where we started and got married at Stone Tower. Watch for future posts about planning a winery wedding.
If you head out to taste at Stone Tower, you have a few options – visit the adults-only Tower View Tasting Room and be sure to say hello to Sarah and Jeremy or visit the family and pet-friendly Harvest Barn and give another one of our favorites, Cort, a shout out! Kris and I hope to see you there soon.