Saudé Creek Vineyards
Most people have a vision of their perfect weekend afternoon. Mine always incorporates relaxation, my favorite people, warm weather and wine, of course. So when my husband and I decided to stop at Saudé Creek on our way home to Virginia Beach from Richmond recently—wine tasting and family time for the win! —I knew the detour would offer just the sort of spontaneous leisure that my Sunday dreams are made of.
Vineyard Vibe: An amazing atmosphere and beautiful valley views are the obvious stand-outs at Saudé Creek. The vineyard—on a hillside adjacent to the Pamunkey River in New Kent County—welcomed me with the inviting centerpiece of a winery and tasting room made from 160-year-old timbers rescued from tobacco warehouses. I am a sucker for wrap-around porches, so I was immediately taken with this perfect example where patrons on all sides of the space settled into Adirondack chairs and sipped their vino. A tall stone fireplace provided the focal point inside, enclosed by cushy furniture offering a respite from a bustling bar. We enjoyed glimpses of the vineyard from indoors but preferred the outside vibe. The decks and patios surrounding the winery take advantage of the highest elevation in the area to showcase lush gardens and river views. We were not alone, as an eclectic mix of retirees, young families and couples on motorcycles filled the property.
Tasting Notes: After squeezing our way into a small available space at the tasting bar (probably typical of most sunny weekend days), we chose to try the Premium Tasting—$17 for samples of seven of their classic varietals (three reds and four whites on this day), plus four reserve wines and a souvenir glass. The Classic Tasting option is also available for $10, including the seven wines from the regular line. Because of the large crowd, we didn’t get to hear as much about each wine as we would have liked or ask many questions, but our server did take time to pair Sweet Rebellion with dark chocolate and the classic Saudé Creek Red with bit of barbecue. Our top two tastes were the Barrel 76—a bold red blend on the reserve list—and the Cabernet Franc, with nice punches of pepper. We ordered one of each ($6/glass for classics and $8/glass for premium wines) and eagerly headed back outdoors for more space and luscious scenery.
Favorite Finds: On the day we visited, The Scottish Pig Barbecue food truck provided some nice lunch options, but I also recommend packing a picnic or visiting the refrigerator case inside the tasting room for a decent selection of cheeses and other provisions. Set up on the hillside or near the outdoor fire pits; you can hear the live music from both spots.
Hours and Events: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Advance reservations are required for groups of 10 or more and offered only on Saturdays and Sundays. Live music every Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons—check the online calendar for the schedule of performers.