We’ve quite literally been visiting Sharp Rock Vineyards for as long as we’ve been hiking in Virginia, since we discovered it several years ago on our gateway hike at Old Rag Mountain. Cleverly situated so that busy Old Rag hiking traffic can literally not miss it, Sharp Rock sits near a gently burbling trout stream (the Hughes River) on an idyllic 20+ acre farm, and — through the years — has been graced by the presence of some of the finest wine dogs in the country. (Years ago we were first greeted at the door by Bo, a friendly yellow lab who was featured in the very first edition of Wine Dogs USA). These days, owners Jimm and Kathy East rescue Bernese Mountain Dogs, two of which gave us a friendly welcome on our most recent visit.
The tasting room at Sharp Rock sits above a small, unassuming barn. To get to it, you’ll drive by the large main house and the small B&B cottage near the stream, to the parking area just outside the tasting room.
Take a look around the hospitable, spacious grounds — noticing the welcoming, scattered seating areas arranged nonchalantly out near the vines and a small, as well as a somewhat more structured seating area next to the barn, where entertainment is sometimes featured. Then, head into the little barn and up the steps to a cozy area with one tasting bar and a small sitting area that overlooks the vines. You’ll more than likely have your tasting poured by the owner and winemaker, himself. I can’t remember a time we’ve been there (and there have been many) that Jimm wasn’t the person pouring each taste and discussing the wines with us as we go along. It’s rarely crowded when we stop by, though we suspect it may be more so on holidays.
Our tasting on 15 January 2017 featured six wines: Chardonnay, Chardonnay Reserve, Rosé Noir, Old Rag Red, Cabernet Franc, and Pinnacle, though we’ve been there frequently enough to try each of their wines at one time or another. On this visit, we brought home a bottle of Old Rag Red, Rosé Noir, and the Cabernet Franc, though we also enjoyed the Chardonnay Reserve and Pinnacle (a Cabernet/Malbec blend) quite a bit too. The Rosé Noir is made with 100% Cabernet grapes that Jimm leaves on the skins for three days to produce a darker rosé (thus the “noir”). It has fruity aromas of strawberry and grapefruit, and a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. Old Rag Red, one of our perennial favorites, is a hearty red blend of three Bordeaux along with some Nebbiolo grapes.
Sharp Rock also runs a B&B, with two different spaces that patrons can rent to stay for longer than a sunny afternoon by mountains and river. The owner and winemaker does a great job of summing up the Sharp Rock experience in this brief video:
Open all year Friday through Sunday and on Monday holidays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; in October, Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Also open by appointment all year.
Tasting is $7-8, and some light fare is also available for purchase. You are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy it out by the vines, next to the barn, or up on the covered seating area just off the tasting room.
A great post-hike stop, you’ll likely really enjoy chatting with the owners and their friendly wine dogs. Bring some snacks or a picnic and enjoy a glass of wine as you rest after a long day on the trail. By the time you leave, you’ll feel like family.
VA TRAIL PAIRINGS
- Buck Hollow/Mary’s Rock
- Old Rag Mountain
- White Oak/Cedar Run
- really, any number of hikes between Sperryville & Syria, VA