5 Reasons to Tour & Taste Southern WV’s Wine & SpiritsApril 24, 2013
West Virginia might be known for its unique Mountain Moonshine, but we’ve perfected many an alcoholic beverage.
Our top-notch wineries and distilleries churn out award-winning, unique, handcrafted drinks to suit any taste. To sample a variety, try some of our favorite Southern WV wineries and distilleries open for tastings:
- Smooth Ambler Spirits (Maxweleton, WV) 3 whiskeys, 2 gins, 1 vodka. Tasting Room: Weekdays 10 am- 6 pm; Saturday 11 am- 3 p.m. Tours: Friday, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Saturday, noon and 2 p.m.
- Kirkwood Winery (Summersville, WV) 30+ wines Tours: Monday- Saturday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.- 5 p.m. (closed Sundays Jan.- March)
- Isaiah Morgan Distillery (Summersville, WV) 3 whiskeys. Tours: Monday- Saturday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m.- 5 p.m. (closed Sundays Jan.- March) – Same location as Kirkwood Winery
- Daniel Vineyards (Crab Orchard, WV) 10+ wines. Tastings & Self-Guided Tours: Tuesday- Saturday, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Here are 5 reasons to take the tours and give them a try:
Have you ever heard of ramp onion wine? Ginseng? Dandelion? Wild elderberry? Red currant? It all exists, and it’s all here. Not to mention the state specialty, Blackberry Wine.
2. CAREFUL CRAFTING
The attentive care the WV beverage makers pay their ingredients helps create consistently bold and perfectly blended flavors. Smooth Ambler uses only mountain water in their high-end spirits. Dr. Daniel of Daniel’s Vineyard has experimented with more than 114 different grape vines to fine-tune his flavor. Kirkwood Winery cultivates an impressive variety of fruits and interesting plants on-site from which to create their wines.
That TLC has earned Southern WV drinks numerous recognitions: Daniel Vineyards consistently wins not only state titles, but also national and international awards for their wines. Last year alone, Smooth Ambler racked up multiple national honors, and received 2 astounding Wine Enthusiast rankings, a 94 for its Greenbrier Gin and a 95 for its Old Scout bourbon whiskey.
The Isaiah Morgan Distillery paved the way for mini-distilleries to thrive. After getting a license for the world’s smallest still in 2002, the distillery owner rallied together community leaders to change laws that didn’t allow the product to be sold on-site. Before, distillery visitors had to find a licensed retailer somewhere else if they wanted to buy any of the whiskeys.
A tour is about more than a tasting. At Smooth Ambler, distillers will pour and explain each layer of the complex flavor to you as you sip. Daniel Vineyards sits upon an old golf course, and includes vast fields of blueberries for picking. Kirkwood and Isaiah Morgan’s country store offers state-made crafts or foods to pair with your beverage, as well as all the tools you need to take home for and start your own hobby winery.
You can also stop in for festivals and events.
Kirkwood hosts an annual Grape Stompin’ Festival the third weekend in September. For only $10, you can enjoy live bands, vendor booths, samples of all of their wines, and a taste of each of the Isaiah Morgan Distillery’s whiskeys.
Daniel Vineyards hosts an annual Spring Wine Festival the third weekend in June, with state artisans, musicians and foods to pair with Daniel Vineyard’s wines.
Which Southern West Virginia wine or spirit is your favorite?