Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Holiday Gifts from Virginia Wine Country

Holiday Gifts from Virginia Wine Country

By Nancy Bauer

If you’ve ever had to de-junk a house in preparation for a move or sale, you’ll agree with this:  consumables are the new go-to gift. They don’t put the “giftee” in an awkward position (Where the heck do I put this?) or need dusting, and if well-chosen, they nourish us as true gifts of love and caring.

Gifts of local wine have the added benefit of low carbon footprint (they weren’t trucked across country or across the sea), they come from land that’s helping to preserve our greenspaces, and they pair really well with all those other holiday consumables, like cheese, charcuterie, and chocolate.

Here are a few special bottles I recommend, and guarantee won’t hang around long:

Muse Vineyards 2015 Blanc de Blanc – nothing says holiday like sparkling wine, and Muse made only 100 cases of this beauty. $32. A good, dry sparkler like this is a perfect match for anything salty, creamy, or smoky, so it’s a natural for appetizers. (; Woodstock)

Horton Vineyards 2016 Petit Manseng – this full-bodied dry white won the top prize in Virginia’s top wine competition for 2019, and it’s a steal at only $25. Pair it with tuna steak with a citrusy gremolata. (; Gordonsville)

Granite Heights Winery 2012 Evening Serenade – red lovers will go nuts for this big merlot-dominant Bordeaux-style blend. $30. Serve this with your classic roast beef dinner, or a savory rack of lamb. (; Warrenton)

For something really unique, try these:

Barrel Oak Winery 2011 John Marshall Declaration Madiera – at $99, this is quite a generous gift, but it comes with a great story: it’s made in the traditional style with sun and air aging, four years in oak barrels plus one more in bottle, and every bottle is hand numbered. Only 82 cases produced. (; Delaplane)

Fabbioli Cellars Raspberry Merlot – gift this perennial favorite with a big box of Virginia-made chocolate and you’re golden.  $24/375ml. (; Leesburg)

Keswick Vineyards Chocolate Sauce – a red wine-infused sauce for toppings desserts or sneaking straight out of the bottle. $19. (; Keswick)

Pair any of the above with a copy of my book, Virginia Wine Travel Journal, $15 on Amazon, or if you’d like signed copies, email me at

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