Once a year, the folks who run Robert E. Lee’s birthplace throw the place open for their wine and oyster festival. This is where you come in, sampling the wares of seven oyster growers and 13 wineries, and taking a seat in some classic cars on Sunday. It’s okay to drink and park.
Doing Things with Grapes in Virginia
You can get behind small farmers. And you’re even one for a bit of volunteering. But the appeal of both only goes up when wine is involved. Here then: a few ways to get into the fall harvest at Virginia wineries, whether you’re hauling grapes around or just holding a glass.
Watching Ladies Stomp Grapes
You climb a gentle hill in Virginia horse country. There, you see a procession of Lucille Ball look-alikes stomping in barrels of grapes. This is not a fever dream. It’s just Three Fox’s annual Lucy Stomp. But better get a pizza from the portable oven and some wine just to get your head right.
Some people look at Lucy and say, “I could do that.” You’re one of those people. So head to Fox Meadow’s Harvest Festival, for tastings, live music and... stomping grapes in a big vat. Yeah, so maybe bring an extra pair of socks.
Working the Fields... and Playing Bocce
Gadino Cellars, a tiny winery in Washington, VA, invites volunteers to its harvest every year. And when everything’s picked and crushed, you can retire to their two full-length bocce courts. Because as the Italians know, bocce is improved by wine. As is work.
If you want to go full-on farmhand, Grayhaven Winery west of Richmond is the place. They’ll take your help pruning, harvesting, landscaping or bottling using a device called the Magic Cow. We wouldn’t recommend tipping it.