AWG Correspondent

Brian Yost

King Family Vineyards Photos

King Family Vineyards Review

Regions: Monticello AVA, Virginia

Reviewed: January 10, 2014 by Brian Yost
Published: January 16, 2014

Living here in Central Virginia I’m surrounded by wineries that are drawing national and international attention. One of these is just west of Charlottesville near the town of Croze. Over the years, I’ve visited King Family Vineyards dozens of times and it has been on my “circuit” of wineries to showcase to visitors. Having said that, it had been a couple years since my last visit, so it was nice to reacquaint and see what’s new.

King Family sits in that “sweet spot” on the edge of the Shenandoah National Park along with a number of other really good wineries that are clustered along the Albemarle-Nelson County lines. This area provides enough elevation to take the edge off of the hot Virginia growing season. It also positions these wineries in the midst of stunning mountain views and King Family has one of the best.

The 327 acre King estate contains both the winery and a polo field. From the tasting room patio, the “Sport of Kings” can be viewed each Sunday during the season. Roseland Polo and the winery are distinctly different ventures, but it does lend another interesting dimension to the whole tasting experience.

In 1998 David and Ellen King were not pursuing a long-standing dream when they opened he winery. The idea hadn’t necessarily occur to them until they were approached by someone interested in leasing a piece of their property for the cultivation of grapes. That set things in motion. The Kings did the necessary research, made a number of queries into the possibility of opening a winery and assembled a team. Later that same year they planted their first vines, and in 2000 they released their first vintage. Today they have about thirty acres under vine and are incrementally adding to that total each year.

The King’s also built a winery with a capacity of 10,000 cases per year, thinking they would never reach that limit. Of course they did. In 2013, King Family opened a new winery with an annual capacity of 25,000 cases. The belief is that they will not reach the new upper limit, but we’ll have to wait and see.

King Family’s reputation for world-class wine reaches far beyond the confines of Virginia. When anyone who’s anyone in the wine world pays a visit to Central Virginia, they invariably make a stop at this winery. Both American Wine (Robinson & Murphy, 2013) and The World Atlas of Wine (Johnson & Robinson, 2013) identify King Family as a notable producer and with good reason.

Much of the attention lavished on King Family is owed to the talent of their winemaker. Matthieu Finot comes from a winemaking family in the northern Rhone. Since leaving home, he made wine throughout the world before settling at King Family in 2006. His artistry is evident in the quality of the wine.

King Family produces wine from French varieties, about seventy percent of which are estate grown. Additional grapes are sourced within the Monticello AVA. The white wines include Chardonnay and Viognier. Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are the primary red varietals. All of these wines are made from varieties known to do well in Virginia, and are excellent examples of what can be achieved regionally. I should note that the winery also produces an excellent Meritage (Bordeaux blend) and an article in Forbes recently featured the 100% Merlot rosé, appropriately named Croze after the nearby town. It’s a beautiful, very well-crafted rosé. King Family also makes a Merlot Port-style wine and their Loreley is an extraordinary Viognier and Petit Manseng desert wine. There’s not a bad wine in the lineup.

I picked King Family in 2013 as one of my top three wineries for tasting room experience. In my mind, it represents the whole package. It has beautiful views, great wine, excellent service, and I love the look and feel of the tasting room. I’ve never had a bad experience and the staff is engaging, informed and customer-oriented. For anyone interested in exploring the wineries of Central Virginia, King Family Vineyards should be on your short list.

Address & Contact Information: 6550 Roseland Farm Crozet, Virginia 22932. Telephone: 434-823-7800, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-5:00.

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