New Kent Winery Review
Address: 8400 Old Church Road New Kent,Virginia 23124.
Phone Number: 804-932-8240
Tasting Hours: 10:00-6:00
Reviewer: Jim Finley
Review Date: 7/19/2014
Reviewer: Jim Finley
Justified or not, I’ve always been a little weary of country club-style, gated communities, and when I exited I64 onto Emmaus Church Rd, the large signs advertising luxury living made me a little nervous. Was the tasting at New Kent Winery really just a wine-focused version of a timeshare sales presentation? I could imagine the server saying, “Here, I have another twenty wines for you to taste as I tell you about our wonderful community. Tastings are free with the purchase of six or more acres.”
The relatively new Virginia winery, 20 miles east of Richmond, opened in 2008 and is the cornerstone of a vineyard-theme community called Viniterra. The winery is architecturally stunning. It is constructed from a variety of reclaimed, historic building materials, including pre-Civil War brick, 150 year-old salvaged cypress, heart pine beams from an 1850-era Connecticut warehouse, and 1901 railroad trusses. The interior of the building has high-arched ceilings with a loft for functions. The large, curved tasting bar provides vineyard views through large southeast-facing windows. The facility also has a covered porch with ceiling fans to keep guests cool while they enjoy their wine admiring the vineyards and grounds.
The tasting, though, made me realize that I have a new #1 wine tasting pet peeve. I’ve never been a fan of being told what flavors I should taste in the wine, and even less of a fan of being asked if I actually tasted what the server said I should taste. The only thing that makes it worse, is when you’re asked the question, more than once, before you’ve actually finished tasting the wine. Other than that, the server was pleasant and knowledgeable about the wines and the winery.
Which gets us to the wine. If I had to describe the wines in two words, those two words would be “fooders” and “porchers.” The reds are all relatively simple, though well-made, with little to no noticeable tannins. The whites are fresh, crisp and go down easy with about half the line-up being semi-dry. The server noted that their Vidal Blanc was one of their customers’ favorite wines during Virginia’s hot summer and that they refer to it as their “chill it & kill it” wine. With only one wine over $20, New Kent has a strong stable of value wines designed for summer sipping.
To make the most of your experience, make sure to take the tour; the wines are good, but the building is amazing. You can also book a tee time at the 18-hole championship golf course, which is now open to the public, and follow it up with a glass or two at the winery. In case you were wondering, there is no sales pitch, but I’m sure you could get your tasting fee refunded with the purchase of a lot or an existing home!