AWG Correspondent

Brian Yost

Shenandoah Vineyards (VA) Photos

Shenandoah Vineyards (VA) Review

Regions: Shenandoah Valley AVA, Virginia

Reviewed: June 5, 2014 by Brian Yost
Published: June 24, 2014

There are only a handful of Virginia wineries still in operation that were around in the early days of Virginia wine production. Almost all of them are on the Eastern slope of the Blue Ridge. Shenandoah Vineyards is an exception. They opened their doors in 1976 at a time when very little was known about winemaking prospects in the Commonwealth, and no one was looking seriously at the Shenandoah Valley. The irony is that today, the Valley is poised to become the most important wine producing region in the state.

Of course nobody knew that in the 1970s and when Emma Randal returned to her native Woodstock, Virginia with her husband and plans to plant grapes, people thought they were crazy. Nearly forty years later, many of the early wineries have closed shop; Shenandoah is thriving and there are no remaining naysayers. Emma's children have taken over many of the day-to-day operations, but she is still firmly at the helm and makes most of the substantive decisions. She is, for all intents and purposes, the Grand Dame of Virginia wine.

Today there are fifteen acres under vine at Shenandoah. Many of them are old growth. They retain their farm winery status by making between 4000 and 5000 cases of small-batch, well-crafted wine each year. The wines consistently medal in all the prestigious competitions, and hundreds of awards are displayed throughout the tasting room. In my personal opinion, the winery is producing some of the best wines in the state.

The twelve varieties grown at Shenandoah are used to make a number of off-dry wines and dry reserve wines. I tasted everything they had to offer, and I was impressed by each of the wines. I will say that the Steel Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Nocturne, an ice-style dessert wine, were real standouts for me, but there is something on the menu for every palate.

The property is lovely. From the road, the estate would look like just another farm if not for the vines. The barn has been converted to accommodate the tasting room and adjoining winery. Everything is manicured and well laid out, but not particularly special until you turn to admire the mountain view. The Blue Ridge looks like it's just across the street. From the upper or lower tasting room balcony, there is an unobstructed view. The wine, the view and the farm atmosphere combine to make this a pretty special venue.

Inside the tasting room, the staff is attentive and knowledgeable. The wine steward, who poured for me had been working in the tasting room for fourteen years. Needless to say, she knew something about the wines, winery and surrounding area. The tasting was fun and educational, which is what I always hope for in a tasting room experience.

If you're up in the northern half of the Shenandoah Valley and you're looking for wineries to visit, this should be one of your stops. It's not far off of Interstate 81, it's very easy to find, and they represent the whole package. They make great wine, the staff is engaged and professional and there are some crazy beautiful views.

Address & Contact Information: 3659 S. Ox Rd. Edinburg, Virginia 22824. Telephone: 540-984-8699, email:, website: Tasting Hours: Summer: 10:00-6:00, Winter 10:00-5:00.

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