Est. in 2009
Elizabeth and Tony Smith have had ties in Charlottesville for most of their lives. They both grew up there, attended high school and college there, and were married at the University of Virginia chapel. After moving to coastal Virginia for a bit, their bond with the Blue Ridge Mountains pulled them back and led them to eventually purchase After Mountain Vineyards in 2009.
That may be where their ties to the vineyards started, but that is not the beginning of the story for the vineyards themselves. As one of the first farm wineries in Virginia, the original vines were planted in 1978, with some of these original blocks still used in production today. Over the years, the number of planted acres has more than doubled, a tasting room has opened, and the varieties produced has increased to 15, including Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot, Tannat, Petit Verdot, sangiovese, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, and others.
Afton Mountain Vineyard is located on the sunrise side of Afton Mountain. The elevation (nearly 1000 feet) helps to keep the vines protected from frost, the rain shadow of the mountain shields the location from excessive rain, and the breeze flowing through the nearby Rockfish and Humpback gaps keeps the area dry. It’s no wonder that a guest and vineyard cottages were added to the grounds for guests to enjoy an extended stay in the area.
When sipping one of their estate-grown wines, be sure to give a little toast to winemaker Damien Blanchon. Damien, who hails from France, has been making wine in Virginia for more than 15 years. He now oversees the wine production and operations at Afton Mountain Vineyards, ensuring that everything is done in the most sustainable and environmentally-respectful way possible. His philosophy is “good wine comes from good grapes,” and he puts this into practice every day through his family tradition of winemaking.
While Elizabeth gives credit to her love of wine, outdoors, and farming for helping them decide to take the leap into vineyard ownership, she admits that it also came with a sprinkling of being “a little crazy.” That dose of crazy has blossomed into a beautiful, budding wine business and can be tasted in every glass of estate-grown wine. We raise a glass to the brief moments of insanity that gifted us with Afton Mountain Vineyard.
Our Best Seller: The red blends & rosé. The Rosé is a dry press rosé of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. $21 / 750 mL
Visit Afton Mountain Vineyards at 234 Vineyard Ln, Afton, VA 22920. The patio, lawn and pavilion are currently open on a first come, first serve basis. Find their hours and more information at https://www.aftonmountainvineyards.com.