Out of all of the Monticello Wine Trails, the Southern Trail best reflects the work and accomplishments of well-known individuals, be they historical figures like Thomas Jefferson or modern day moguls like Donald Trump.
The first stop on this wine-tasting road trip is Monticello, the “the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, who inherited it….Located just outside Charlottesville, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres. At Jefferson’s direction, he was buried on the grounds, an area now designated as the Monticello Cemetery, which is owned by the Monticello Association, a lineage society of his descendants” (Monticello).
The next stop is Jefferson Vineyards, which still grows fruits that were selected by Thomas Jefferson in 1774. One thing that makes this winery and vineyard so unique is that it is entirely self-contained in Virginia. The grapes are grown onsite, and no fruit is purchased outside Virginia. As the winery states, “These choices are consistent with our values, and we believe they are true to Jefferson’s original vision of winemaking in Virginia” (Jefferson Vineyards). If you do make a stop at this vineyard, we recommend the Chardonnay!
Bleinheim Vineyards is next on the trip, and this property just happens to be owned by renowned musician Dave Matthews. Like the previously mentioned establishments, however, this one is also linked to Thomas Jefferson: “It was Blenheim where Thomas Jefferson and his bride, Martha, are said to have “rested and warmed themselves” after their coach stalled nearby during a snowstorm. Later, the Jeffersons continued on to Monticello on horses borrowed from Edward Carter. The property was sold in 1840 and the house burned a few years later” (Blenheim).
Lastly, there is Trump Winery, owned by Donald Trump, legendary real estate tycoon and star of NBC’s The Apprentice. This winery is known to have the best Brut in Central Virginia, and they also serve some fantastic cheese if you’re hungry for a midday snack.
Enjoy your Southern Trail road trip, and don’t forget to book your room at the Iris Inn!