The Spirits of WVJanuary 25, 2012
You’ll find plenty of West Virginia ghost stories in these parts, but the latest bunch of spirits around here are of a different kind. These spirits are of the bottled nature and are beginning to tell a tale all their own.
Appalachia is rich with tales of mountain men making their own alcohol. Pictures of mountain men often show a jug somewhere close by. Moonshine, white lightning, mountain dew and hooch are all monikers for homemade alcohol.
Today, WV has quite a few businesses devoted to producing (legal) alcoholic beverages. Here’s a look at some of the southern West Virginia wineries, breweries, and distilleries you can visit on your next trip to our neck of the woods.
Kirkwood Winery planted its first grapes in 1984, and not too long after became southern WV’s first winery. Located in Nicholas County, Kirkwood produces a variety of different wines that include flavors like blackberry, apple, plum,
rhubarb, and even ginseng. Kirkwood Winery is also the home to the “Grape Stomping Festival” held annually the third weekend of September.
Daniel Vineyards in Raleigh County is a must-see stop on your southern WV Spirits Tour. This winery was opened in 1990 and has become a great place for not only wine, but for events, parties, and weddings. Stop in at Daniel’s beautiful tasting room, which overlooks the vineyard. Their wines can be found in many places around southern WV, including nearby Tamarack.
Watts Roost Vineyard, southern WV’s youngest winery established in 1998, grows their grapes and bottles their wine in Greenbrier County. The vines flourish at the foot of Muddy Creek Mountain near Lewisburg where you will find 9000 plants on 9 acres. The tasting room at Watts Roost is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1-6pm or by appointment. Wines are also available at retail outlets in West Virginia.
The folks at the Kirkwood Winery decided a few years back that maybe wine wasn’t all they could produce on their little farm in Summersville. They formed the Isaiah Morgan Distillery in 2002 and started producing small batches of rye and corn whiskey for sale at state licensed retailers. Their products harken back to the whiskey that was produced in a different era.
A bit newer to the scene is Smooth Ambler Spirits, located in Greenbrier County. This small batch distillery got its start in 2009 and produces not only white whiskey and bourbon, but vodka and gin as well. Smooth Ambler’s location allows it to take advantage of excellent mountain water. This distillery is helping keep a WV tradition alive and well.
The newest offering for southern WV imbibers comes in the form of craft brewed beer from Bridge Brew Works, a small Microbrewery between Fayetteville and Oak Hill. In just a little over 2 years, Bridge Brew Works already has a great following and an expanding distribution area. Their signature beers, Long Point Lager and Bridge Brew Ale, are available throughout southern West Virginia. Bridge Brew Works also creates special and seasonal beers. In fact, Beer Advocate recently gave glowing reviews to their Dubbel and Tripel beers.
What’s your favorite southern West Virginia spirit?