Since we first started traveling to Southwest Virginia one of our favorite stops has always been the DAVIS VALLEY WINERY. Once off Interstate 81 the signs will point you in the right direction. Thank goodness, because the country roadway doesn’t indicate that a beautiful winery is just around the corner.
Every time we arrive at the gates of Davis Valley Winery we are amazed. The facility sits up on a big, big, hill (not quite a mountain) and a snaking switchback road carries you to the top. (SkyTop Orchards in Flat Rock, NC, which is actually on top of a mountain, also offers this type of driving experience.) As you wind your way up, vineyards are to the left and right, then before you know it you’re looking down on acres of grapevines.
We have been in much fancier wineries. Some have been old mansions, castles, and even a fort. Davis Valley is more warehouse, but one side has been converted to a tasting room and gift shop. Two large European style doors carry you into a spacious area with a 100 year old oak bar for sampling.
After visiting Davis Valley for over ten years we have discovered some favorite wines, but we never pass up a chance to taste something new. This time around, we walked away with two bottles.
Chambourcin is a traditional favorite purchase for us at Davis Valley. This wine is an award-winning semi-dry red with a black cherry finish. So good!
Virginia Breeze was a first time purchase. Davis has this sweet wine in both red and white. We choose the red for its wonderful citrus and berry fruit aromas. It reminded us of Red Ass Rhubarb wine we got at the Prairie Berry Winery in South Dakota.
We were checking out when my wife start chatting with the owner, and the next thing we knew we were discovering Davis’s new venture into distilled liquors. Space that once used for wedding and parties is now devoted to the production of whiskey.
Although we understand some of the basics of creating distilled liquors we were surprised at the waiting process to creating some beverages. For example, our first stop was the barrel room where Whiskey sat in American Oak barrels for two years before it reached the level of perfection required for good whiskey.
Simpler distilled fluids included vodka and moonshine. (The still on the old MASH TV show always comes to mind.) Oddly, it is not much different. Just bigger and safer. The facility used both pot stills and Column stills. Column stills are used in the production of bourbon and whiskey. Column stills behave like a series of single pot stills, formed in a long vertical tube.
We got a chance to taste some wonderful stuff coming right off the line. Wow! After the tour, we spent some time in their special sampling room for distilled spirits. Unlike the wine, there was a charge for the samples. Neither of us are big consumers of hard liquor, but their Maple Whiskey (maple is local, from a neighboring Amish Community) was excellent, and we purchased some Appalachian Moon Moonshine flavored with apples.
I joked that I would only buy the Moonshine if it didn’t make me go blind. I’m sure they hear that line all the time. Davis Valley handcrafts their moonshine in small batches from locally grown grains using pure mountain spring water. The straight up moonshine had a kick, but the fruit flavored editions (apple, peach, black cherry, and strawberry) were smooth and velvety. I’ll be adding it to some ice tea for a refreshing libation after mowing the yard.