Hiking trails and vineyards fill the state of Virginia. Some vineyards even offer tours through the vines, both self-guided and guided. These wine hikes and wine walks are a perfect way to explore the ancient mountains while also enjoying the exemplary wines the area has to offer. This merging of wine and hiking, known as “wiking,” should be on your bucket list. This unique pairing will leave you in awe of Virginia’s beautiful terroir.
Wiking wine hikes chester gap
Chester Gap Cellars, Image © Jeff Seese

The beauty of a region is expressed in many different forms. From dramatic mountainsides and rolling hills to the crops that showcase terroir in their flavors, Virginia has much for hike and wine lovers.

In Virginia, you can often see vines decorating both the rise and fall of the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills. For winemakers, even the slightest rise in the terrain can positively impact growing. As Jim Law of Linden Vineyards once stated, “Vineyard block design should reflect topography, not neat, convenient geometry. The steeper the slope, the better for the vines. There is a reason that the greatest vineyards in Northern Rhone, Alsace and Mosel are planted on death-defying slopes.”

History of the Ancient Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains have a fascinating history. One of oldest in the world, their age exceeds the Alps, Himalayas, Rockies or even the Andes. Their low height and gentle curvature was created over an astonishing 1 billion years of erosion. This makes them unique compared to their younger counterparts like the Alps or Rockies who are taller and have sharp peaks. The topography of the Blue Ridge is mostly mountainous pine tree forest. The trees release hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, giving the mountain range its distinctive “blue” hue. Humans have inhabited the Blue Ridge Mountains for over 12,000 years. In that time we’ve developed ways of working with the land that has led to the Virginian viticulture industry we know today.
As you sample wines from vineyards across the state on your wine hikes and wine walks, the changes in the terroir are evident in the flavors. Winegrowers aim not to interfere with the flavors that develop in grapes from a specific site. Their goal is to bring to the forefront the aromas and mineralities of the terroir.
humpback rocks wine hikes
Humpback Rocks, Image © Ashley Early

Planning Your Wine Hikes and Wine Walks

This appreciation of the land in Virginia, and all it can do, also attracts outdoor lovers. As the vines begin to bud thru to post-harvest, hikers make their trek up and down many miles of trails across the state. From some of these trails, adventurers are able to catch glimpses of nearby vineyards, perfect for post-hike tastings. What better way to experience this natural symbiosis between physical activity and an afternoon spent in the vineyard? They pair well for a beautiful day in Va Wine Country. Wiking is an amazing way to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s a worthy outing when you are pairing award-winning wineries with first-class trails. These eight perfect pairings make it all the easier to enjoy wine hikes throughout the year.

It’s a worthy outing when you are pairing award-winning wineries with first-class trails.

White Rock Falls Wine Hike and 12 Ridges Vineyard

(Raphine, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 37.8961963, -79.12094715396461

Photo of a dog and 2 glasses of wine at 12 Ridges Vineyard
12 Ridges Vineyard, Image courtesy of 12 Ridges Vineyard
The family-owned 12 Ridges Vineyard is an ideal destination to plan the first of many wine hikes. While away the afternoon with a glass of wine after a hike to White Rock Falls. The vineyard specializes in sparkling wines, but you’ll also find Chardonnays, Rieslings and Pinot Noirs. From the outdoor terrace, the undulating Blue Ridge Mountains seem to go on and on. The views are entrancing. Here you can wander across Virginia’s highest altitude vineyard, at an elevation that tops 3,300 feet. That’s higher than many mountains in Virginia. The elevation allows for cool-climate wines like brilliant Rieslings and crisp Chardonnays that pair well with with charcuterie, cheeses and small plates. 12 Ridges is open Friday through Sunday, and the winery is dog friendly.

Barrel Oak Winery

(Delaplane, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 38.883097004528, -77.90383427321748

For a delightful glass of wine after a view-filled hike at Sky Meadows State Park, which has more than 20 miles of nature trails, look to Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane. This destination for wine hikes has scads of award-winning wines, including a Cabernet Franc that has collected more than 30 awards. Guests can sign up for the Barrel Oak Tasting Experience, a one-hour curated experience that pairs eight vintages with salami, cheese, jam, mustard, fresh fruit and water crackers. The winery also books Barrel Oak Bubbles, seven private spaces for seating up to seven guests. Barrel Oak Winery is open daily, and on Fridays, guests can order dinner from food trucks or bring in their own picnic to enjoy Friday Night Flites complimentary tasting flights. Dogs and kids are also welcome at the winery.

Bluemont Vineyard

(Bluemont, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 39.097560878280945, -77.8363143750652

Bluemont vineyard sunrise wine hikes
Bluemont Vineyard, Image courtesy of Bluemont Vineyard

Located in Loudoun County, Bluemont Vineyard is an easy 10-minute drive from the iconic Appalachian Trail. It’s a popular post-hike destination for hikers coming off the trail after scenic treks to Bears Den Overlook and Raven Rocks. Wine lovers can sample wines in the Tasting Room or from the expansive outdoor patio with endless views across the mountains. Light bites like seasonal cheese plates and margherita flatbreads are available or you can opt for a four-course Chef’s Table dinner for a farm-to-table experience. For an elevated experience, guests can stay in one of three pet-friendly cottages or book The Reserve at Bluemont Vineyard for wine tastings. For a wine and hiking experience on the property, you can enjoy three miles of private trails. Bluemont Vineyard is open daily, giving guests ample opportunities to enjoy all it has to offer. 

Chester Gap Cellars

(Front Royal, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 38.861894929533776, -78.12801285601911

Chester Gap Cellars is a small estate winery close to Shenandoah National Park’s Front Royal entrance, as well as to family-friendly park hikes like the Fox Hollow Trail. Hand-crafted reds and whites range from a fruit-forward Petit Manseng to a crisp, clean Chardonnay. There’s plenty of outdoor space for wine lovers to sit and bask in sensational vistas across the Shenandoah Valley. You’ll see many settling into a comfy Adirondack chair for an afternoon with friends or extending their stay at Idle Hour at Chester Gap, the winery’s three-bedroom retreat. Chester Gap Cellars is open Friday through Sunday, and on-leash pets are welcome. Outside food is accepted, though the winery does sell snacks like meats, cheeses, crackers and locally-baked artisan bread.

DuCard Vineyards

(Etlan, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 38.51286168652483, -78.30478027322856

Etlan’s DuCard Vineyards is another top choice for those eager for a celebratory glass after hiking to the top of Old Rag and alongside tumbling waterfalls at Whiteoak Canyon. Both hikes begin less than 15 minutes from this boutique winery that borders Shenandoah National Park. Three Madison County vineyards grow grapes that go into all the wines at DuCard, including two bottles that pay tribute to the national park. These include Black Bear, a versatile red, and Shenandoah, a sweet white. A portion of sales goes to the Shenandoah National Park Trust.

DuCard Vineyards welcomes more than a few hikers eager to laze away the afternoon in an Adirondack chair with a refreshing glass of Rosé. “Hikers love to cool down with some wine on the lawn or by the stream,” notes Scott Elliff, owner of DuCard Vineyards. DuCard is open daily year-round, and the winery brings in food trucks and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Dogs are allowed inside the tasting room and on the grounds. This mountainside vineyard also offers free treats and water bowls for its four-legged guests.

Paradise Springs Winery

(Clifton, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 38.765834776127804, -77.4051951327476

Nestled into the small town of Clifton, Paradise Springs Winery sits adjacent to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. It’s not unusual to see hikers come off the Bull Run-Occoquan Trail and amble over to the winery for a post-hike glass of a fruity Sommet Blanc. The winery has a range of wines, including varietals like a lighter-bodied Cabernet Franc and an aromatic Petit Verdot. Bingo Nights and Barrel Tastings, as well as live music on weekends, make Paradise Springs Winery enticing after a wooded hike alongside gently flowing Bull Run. Paradise Springs Winery is open daily, and on Fridays, the wine flows extra late. From Friday through Sunday, a food truck serves up crab cake sandwiches, flatbread pizzas and lobster rolls. The winery offers weekend tours of the vineyard, production facility and barrel room, a great way to round out your day of wine hikes.

Sharp Rock Vineyards

(Sperryville, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 38.55602608977943, -78.25516727902493

Sharp Rock Vineyards is a four-minute drive from the parking lot for the bucket list hike to the summit of Old Rag Mountain. Stop in for a post-hike glass of wine, maybe a glass of Old Rag Red, which pairs nicely with venison sausage, crackers and cheese available for purchase. Settle in on the back porch of this century-old barn winery and tasting room with a crisp and refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a fruity glass of Chamois Rouge, one of Sharp Rock’s most popular selections. Guests can stay the weekend in one of two on-site bed & breakfast cottages. Sharp Rock Vineyards is open Friday through Sunday for those planning their weekend wine hikes. In October, the winery opens on Thursdays and Mondays for foliage seekers eager to complete Old Rag and laze away the afternoon with a glass of wine amongst gold and amber leaves.

Veritas Vineyards & Winery

(Afton, VA)

GPS Coordinates: 38.01557019897432, -78.83623687138906

Veritas Vineyards & Winery is less than 20 minutes from the start of several popular hikes in Nelson County, including Humpback Rocks and Blue Ridge Tunnel. The 50-acre winery is renowned for its feted wines like its 2015 Scintilla, a 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup gold medalist. Enjoy award-winning wines from a picnic table with a blazing fire pit or from the grassy lawn as you savor sensational views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sample flights of four wines and scan a QR code with your phone to access tasting videos with Veritas’ winemaker, Emily Hodson. Veritas is open daily, and in-person, educator-led tastings are available in the Tasting Room Friday through Sunday. The winery sells sandwiches, salads, cheese plates and charcuterie boards, but guests can also bring in picnic lunches, as well as kids and dogs.

ERIN GIFFORD is a travel and outdoor writer based in Ashburn, Virginia. She has written for The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Northern Virginia Magazine, AFAR.com and Parents.

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