Sip your way through Greater Williamsburg
by Julie Matthews
Sampling local beverages is an excellent way to get acquainted with the Greater Williamsburg area, which offers a wide variety of high-quality wines, craft beers and spirits. Whether visiting a winery, brewery or meadery, take time to savor the local flavors and soak up the charming settings—from peaceful rustic farms to lively outdoor patios—that abound here. Be sure to stroll around and observe the beautiful gardens and historic buildings.
Trying to figure out where to start? The Williamsburg Tasting Trail showcases select wineries, breweries, distilleries and meaderies having top-notch product ingredients and production processes. It is a magnificent guide for exploring the area, its scenic venues and unique flavors.
Due to its excellent vintages, Virginia has made a name for itself in the wine industry. Williamsburg and its neighboring towns offer plenty of opportunities to tour wineries, hang out in tasting rooms, relax outdoors and listen to live music.
With its award-winning and varied selection of wines, The Williamsburg Winery has much to offer visitors including tastings, tours, delicious food and even overnight accommodations at the cozy Wedmore Place. Head north to Saude Creek Vineyards and sip tasty wines while enjoying views of the Pamunkey River and a laidback setting, perfect for picnics, plus hear live music every weekend. Not far away, experience New Kent Winery’s delicious estate-grown Virginia wines while feeling at home at this family-owned farm with an elegant venue crafted with historic materials and its beautiful landscaping. Upper Shirley Vineyards and James River Cellars Winery are also impressive wineries to visit and sample local wines. Also consider checking out Amiraj, which offers 170 wines from around the world and is one of two restaurants in Williamsburg that has received the esteemed Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.
Beer lovers also have many fantastic options in the Williamsburg area. Like the wineries, the breweries in this region offer patrons a variety of flavors and tasting opportunities for their quest of discovering what beverages they like best.
In the heart of Williamsburg, experience craft beers full of creativity and innovation at the The Virginia Beer Company, Amber Ox and Precarious Beer Hall. Along with fun, social settings these places offer interesting, delightful dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients complementing the high-quality craft beer selections. Head to Billsburg Brewery in Jamestown and sip lagers, ales and pilsners while taking in water views from the 10-acre marina where they are located. Experience the high-level artisan craft in their brews including small-batch beers.
At Alewerks Brewing Company you will discover an expansive beer selection including year-round varieties to seasonal and specialty to cellar select. Choose between visiting Alewerks’ classic taproom at their brewery or their Little Auxiliary Brewery, also known as the L.A.B., which along with the options offered at their Brewery Taproom also has small-batch beers made from new recipes. Located with New Kent Winery, Talleysville Brewing Company brews their beer on site, using high-quality farm ingredients. Try one of their 13 beer options, ranging from ale, IPA, lager, pilsner and stout to tripel, DIPA, saison and more.
Distilleries and Meaderies
If you are seeking high-quality spirits—from whisky and bourbon to gin and rum to mead—Williamsburg is the perfect destination. Eight Shires Distillery serves up hand-crafted spirits deeply rooted in history with their 17th-and 18th-century influenced recipes. The family-friendly Copper Fox is great spot for enjoying whiskey flights and craft cocktails. And if you have never tasted mead before, your visit to Williamsburg is the ideal time to try something new. Along with offering tours, Silver Hand Meadery has tastings of both their mead and honey. Stop in at Windchaser Meadery, and be sure to take home mead, honey and tea.
Even if you do not live far from the Williamsburg area, spending time at one of the wineries or other establishments here can make you feel like you are escaping on a mini vacation. No matter if you gather with old friends or make new ones, spend an afternoon or a few days, come enjoy local beverages and good company in Greater Williamsburg. And be sure to purchase gifts to take home with you to help you remember your special experiences!
Plan ahead and plot your tasting experience. All visitors are encouraged to drink responsibly. It may be wise to include a designated driver in your tasting trail adventure.