When it comes to wine, timing is everything.
This summer we visited the King Family Vineyards, which hosts Polo matches on a field behind their property. We sat under a tent at an alumni event having a fabulous time watching the game, eating picnic food, and tailgating with wine bought from a circling golf cart. However, we didn’t actually enter the winery proper or taste anything but the one bottle we purchased (a Viogner). Further investigation was called for.
In the late fall, we made sour stop at Veritas Vineyard & Winery with too little time allotted for their apparently very popular tastings. Who knew 50 minutes was not enough time to procure a simple tasting? When we arrived, the tasting counters were “full” and we were greeted by a woman who put our names on a waiting list. We were first on the list, so waiting a few minutes seemed like no big deal. Oh, how wrong we were. A line piled up behind us, and in the 35 minutes we waited (becoming increasingly angrier), not a single couple walked away from the tasting counters. How long does it take to sample 8-10 wines?! We finally cut our losses because we had matinee tickets to a play a 25 minute drive away. Should we have left earlier if we wanted to partake of both the wine tasting and the play? Yes, without a doubt – but it still seemed absurd that those customers were given a standard wine tasting that lasted 35+ minutes.
We recently returned to both wineries to see how they fared with an empty winter afternoon.
My conclusion? A visit to a winery is always subjective, and experiences even at the same venue can vary widely, depending on personal preference, time of day, time of year, your own schedule and mood, special events, pourers, etc. Unless the wine is truly terrible, I’ll always be up for a second visit.
King Family Vineyards
Atmosphere – 7
Wait times – 8
Wine – 6
Food – n/a
Price – 6
Overall experience – 8 for first visit, 6 for second visit
The wine was decent, if slightly overpriced, and the tasting area was cozy. But without the excitement of a Polo match, it was a pretty standard winery experience. We had a fun afternoon, but the winery is not particularly noteworthy. It sits on a beautiful property, and there is plenty of seating inside. Would I go back again? Sure, but probably on a Polo Sunday.
Added bonus: They had the best gift store section I had ever seen in a winery. I actually wanted to buy the stuff for once.
Atmosphere – 9
Wait times – 2
Wine – 9
Food – 9
Price – 7
Overall experience – 1 for first visit, 9 for second visit
If you get there as soon as they open (or have no problem waiting), you will have a fabulous time and drink delicious wine. Veritas is a popular place to be on a weekend afternoon, and they aren’t great at accommodating big crowds.
The second time around we showed up about 15 minutes after the winery opened. There was no a crowd yet, so we had the first half of our tasting with just us and the pourer. It was a longer tasting than most, but was still probably under a half hour. The wine was delicious, and the pourer knowledgeable.
The wine was a little pricey, but worth it. The food was a steal – I bought a cheese plate that came with 3 large cheese wedges, a fruit spread, olives, berries, and 3 fresh baguettes (A hint from our pourer: Ask for an extra baguette.). The price? $15. I don’t I’ve ever gotten that much bang for my buck at a winery.
Space is at a premium, and even though it was a chilly winter day, the room filled quickly, and shared our nook with a couple other parties.