|Scenery:||(4 / 10)|
|Staff:||(6 / 10)|
|Facilities:||(5 / 10)|
|Accessibility:||(8 / 10)|
|Wines:||(5 / 10)|
Way back in 1599 a man called Henry Porter wrote a play called ‘The pleasant history of the two angry women of Abington’. In this play he writes:
Nay, I hope, as I have temperance to forbear drink, so have I patience to endure drink: Ile do as company dooth; for when a man doth to Rome come, he must do as there is done.
I think he must have been referring to Williamsburg. The only reason to endure the drink here is because you are a tourist here and there is no other option but to follow the other tourists, because that’s what tourists do. – alright, I get it, on with the review…
First, on your trip to Historic Williamsburg, you decide to visit a winery. When you check out the entire region, you find there are very few choices – not a good omen. After deciding to go anyway, you drive through a run down looking neighborhood for a couple miles with ‘No Outlet’ signs showing up disturbingly early in the journey. Eventually, you arrive at an out of place, nice looking, gated entrance to the Winery. You meander up the well paved drive for maybe a third of a mile back in to the 200+ acre property as you pass various plots of varying vines. In fact, these are occupying about 33 acres and have been in the ground since the early 90’s, pretty old for Virginia.
At the end of the drive, you come to a quaint looking row of buildings with parking. There are several old wine barrels strewn about to keep you in the right area while you park. The scene has been carefully crafted to mimic 1700’s historic towns with a Tavern to the left, an old barn, what might be a monestary, and the tasting room to the right of the cobblestone or pea-gravel walking roadway. This of course is all new construction – no connection to an actual establishment or history, but it fits in perfectly with the idea that you are in Williamsburg.
You are herded down the road to the tasting room. We entered, and were promptly greeted by the cashier, who took our $6 tasting fee and directed us through a door to the tasting room – this felt disconnected and odd. The tasting room itself was in the back half of the building. The room was made to look old. Large plank floorboards of dark wood stretched across the tavern sized room. Along the back wall was a bar. No other furniture existed in the entire room, giving it a cold, unloved, and echoing feeling.
The server was fine, and we had a good discussion about his Pittsburgh accent, but the script was canned and not too full of good information. He mentioned that there was a Premier Tasting, and I eagerly wanted to try that – and he agreed that I should, at some point. Also, disturbingly, when I asked about the difference between the regular wines and the Reserve wines, we said that the reserve wines are aged in new oak while the regular wines are in neutral oak. oof. Maybe I really didn’t want to try the $72 bottle they were offering anyway.
I asked if there was any way to buy a bottle and sit to enjoy it on the property. Sure, you can go to the gift shop and get a bottle, but you have to go out to the picnic table and sit there (in the rain) to enjoy it. No thanks. After the tasting, we were exited through another door, not the one we came in through, which dumped us out into a souvenir shop and more cashiers.
Overall, this felt like a tourist processing plant more than a winery. At least we were forced to keep the glass.
5800 Wessex Hundred, Williamsburg, VA 23185