A hidden gem to Staunton is being discovered by visitors as well as locals. On Saturday we joined friends for the Sears Hill Bridge dedication in downtown Staunton and enjoyed lunch at the Clocktower Restaurant before walking to the Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room on Middlebrook Avenue. The day was beautiful so we sat outdoors on the patio and enjoyed a tasting and glasses of award-winning wine from Ox-Eye Vineyards.
Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room is located in the Historic Wharf District of downtown Staunton in a 1904 building designed by noted architect T.J. Collins. After sitting vacant for years, it was carefully and tastefully renovated by the Kiers.
Congratulations to homeschool friends and owners John and Susan Kiers who were recently named by the Washington Post as one of the mid-Atlantic top ten wineries to check out. Their focus is crafting high quality, food-friendly wines from grapes best suited to the soil and climate of the Augusta County farm in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
The view out the upstairs window was of the Wharf parking area that had been crowded earlier in the day with vendors and guests at the Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market.
My favorite wines were the Ox-Eye Riesling and White Ox and, while I'm usually a Riesling girl, the White Ox was a tad sweeter and went home with me ... but I'll be back for a bottle of the Riesling next time.
The tasting menu provided a road map while navigating through the variety of wines.
In the past the building now housing the tasting room had served as an office for a coal and lumber business. Later it was a scale house for horse-drawn coal wagons. Where the covered patio now provides tables for visitors to enjoy wine and the outdoors, the loaded wagons would pull up through the covered archway to be weighed by the Fairbanks scale.
The building eventually became a sales room for the Fultz Lumber Company, the last business to occupy the site. After it closed, the building sat vacant for many years before the Kiers began renovation in 2010 and opened in 2011.
Ox-Eye has had lots of favorable reviews, and includes a link to a Washington Examiner story, "Will Hot, Dry Weather Make 2010 a Good Year for Virginia Wines," that I wrote in 2010 about the hot, dry weather and its affect on grapes at Ox-Eye Vineyards.
Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room is a great place to join friends for a glass of wine and to hear local musical entertainment or catch art showings by local artists like the one going on right now featuring Jeffrey Stockberger upstairs, and Cheryl Gerhart downstairs.
See you at the Ox.
See you at the Ox.
Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
April 13, 2013