Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Book a Group Wine Tasting Tour in Charlottesville, VA

It won't be long before the vineyards start looking like this photo! We have bud swell right now at Arcady Vineyard B&B.

Arcady Vineyard Wine Tours does not book groups. We only take two couples per van. But we do receive lots of booking requests from groups so we wanted to answer the questions we have been receiving.

Most of our wineries are small, but do have either a group tasting room or area designated for groups. If you are planning a trip of 7 or more people, you need to RESERVE YOUR TASTING TIME. We have been experiencing so many unreserved groups at the wineries, that they are having to start refusing service. Most wineries have ONE group tasting room, and if it's booked and you show up without calling to reserve space, there is NOWHERE for them to serve you!

Some examples of possible tasting routes with suggested tasting times would be:

11 am at Stinson Vineyards, then 12 noon at Grace Estate Winery, then 1:30pm at Pollak Vineyards where you can taste and enjoy a picnic, and 3:30pm at Cardinal Point Winery or

11am at King Family, 1pm at Pollak Vineyards,  where you can picnic,  2:30pm at Veritas Vineyard , 3:30pm at Afton Mountain Vineyard or

11am at Virginia Wineworks (taste in the barrel room!) 12 am at First Colony where they have lots of room to picnic, 1:30pm at Trump Winery and 2:30pm at Blenheim Vineyards

Don't walk in and wait at every winery for enough space to open for your group, which on a Saturday can be up to 30 minutes, or risk that they are slammed with no space for you. When you have reserved your space, your group is whisked into the group tasting room/area and they can offer you excellent service!

Now, THAT is how to have fun in Wine Country!!!

Now should you just show up on a whim, if the group space is not already booked, the wineries will generally scramble to accommodate if possible. But after cases of buses showing up and unloading sometimes up to 45 people unannounced, the wineries are being forced to create policies to avoid catastrophes!

Please note you must contact the wineries and usually prepay your tasting fees ahead of time. Your tour operator CANNOT prepay the tastings anymore per the ABC.  If you have a group, I would recommend allowing an hour per winery.

Icky stuff alert:  You must arrive on time, please! Groups are booked before and after you, and if you show up hours late, you will not be served, as some other group will be there for their reserved tasting time. Especially on holiday weekends and Saturdays, the group tasting space is often booked solid.  Think of group tastings like a restaurant reservation.

So when your poor driver tries to get you to get in the vehicle and move on, don't give him/her a hard time!! They are trying to get you where you booked to go. Herding partying Bachelorettes or Family Reunions and such is like herding chickens sometimes.

Icky stuff alert: Also, should you arrive intoxicated, you will not be served. Even if you are not driving. Even if you have prepaid. Even if you have a reservation. It's the law. No winery is going to risk their business license and violate the law by serving alcohol to a group who has had too much to drink.

For ideas on routes and what's being poured now at the wineries, go to www.montielloappellation.com

Since most of the wineries are in the County of Albemarle, you should consider a stop for a picnic. The County does not allow restaurants, so snacks or a picnic lunch is a must. Do NOT bring alcohol to drink in your vehicle, as that is also not allowed. Our favorite stops for picnics are Feast! in Charlottesville and Greenwood Grocery in the Crozet/Afton area. The smart thing to do is call your order in ahead so you don't get stuck waiting for sandwiches.

Now you have your group (bear in mind some party pooper always drops out... ) you need to check the different local companies that we think are the BEST IN TOWN! We love them all so will list them in group by the vehicles they offer. Now you have to consider if you are fine with a van, want a limousine, a bus, or must have a flashy classic car. All are available!

VANS
Norm's Taxi - Norm is a great guy and drives 7 seater vans so can take up to 6 passengers per van. His vans are smoke free. Norm knows where all the wineries are located and where to pick up picnics. You can call him at (434) 327 - 9500. If you get a recording, PLEASE leave a message. He can't answer the phone if he is driving and will certainly call you back as soon as he can. You can check his prices and calendar right on his website for availability - keep an eye on it as it changes constantly and what's booked today might change to another date tomorrow.

LIMOS, BUS
Camyrn Limo is out at the wineries and breweries all the time! See if you can get Jack, he's our favorite driver! They have limos, small buses and large buses.

VANS, BUS, LIMO, CLASSIC CAR

A&A Limo and Ambasssador - we see these folks out on the wine trail too! Not familiar with the drivers but the groups always look like they are having a lot of fun!


Blue Ridge Wine Excursions has it all! Andrea can handle two to two hundred! We have seen them out on the Monticello Wine Trail with everything from vintage limousines to Mercedes sedans to buses. Her staff are great and respond quickly.

Now there are other transportation companies - but we like to recommend local businesses, and these are the ones we see out on the wine trail all the time while we are touring that handle groups. 

And don't forget to check reviews. We often receive calls on a Saturday morning from groups whose bookings did not work out. But beware the reviews that seem bizarre - just look for consistency. 









Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Events – Charlottesville Downtown Mall
3/28, 29, 30   '14


When:    Friday March 28

What:     METZ w/Lil Huffy
Doors 8 pm, Show 9 pm
103 S 1st. St, Charlottesville   
Cost:      $8
434-977-5590 


When:    Friday March 28
11pm
What:     The Abe Ovadia Organ Trio 7pm/ DJ Dance Party 11pm
Where:   Escafe Restaurant
215 W. Water St., Charlottesville
Cost:      No cover mentioned
434.295.8668


When:    Saturday, March 29
Doors 7 pm, Show 8 pm
What:     Tyler Farr
Where:   Jefferson Theater 
110 East Main St, Charlottesville
Cost:      $18 Advance, $20 Door
800-594-8499



When:    Saturday March 29

What:     Bob Bennetta w/ Dick Orange 7 pm / Video Dance Party 9pm
Where:   Escafe Restaurant
215 W. Water St., Charlottesville
Cost:      No cover mentioned
434.295.8668


When:    Saturday, March 29
9 am – 12 noon
Where:   Monticello Garden Sat
1293 Tufton Farm, Charlottesville
Cost:      $24
434-984-9800


When:    Sunday March 30
9 pm
What:     Karaoke!

Where:   Escafe Restaurant
215 W. Water St., Charlottesville
Cost:      No cover mentioned
434.295.8668




Events at / with the Wineries & Breweries



When:    Friday, March 28
8 pm
What:     Music: Juke Joint Junkies with Lisa Miller
200 Mosbys Run, Roseland
Cost:      None mentioned
434-361-1001


When:    Friday, March 28
8 pm – 11 pm
What:     Music: Steal the Prize

    2461 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford
Cost:      None mentioned
434-361-0088


When:    Saturday, March 29
8 pm – 11 pm
What:     Music: Psychobilly Cadillac

    2461 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford
Cost:      None mentioned
434-361-0088


When:    Saturday, March 29
2pm - 5pm
What:     Music: Haze & Dacey
Blues, Folk, Bluegrass
4875 Fox Mountain Rd, Crozet
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
434-823-7605


When:    Saturday, March 29
12:30 – 4:30
What:     Jazz & Chocolate
Music: Rhythm Masters
Chocolate: chocolate fountain and savory & sweet crêpes
Where:   Cooper Vineyards
13372 Shannon Hill Rd, Louisa
Cost:      $15 Advance, $20 Door
540-894-5474


When:    Saturday, March 29
2:30 pm – 5pm
What:     Kite day
Music: Creme Brulee
Picnics welcome
Cost:      Tasting Fees, Kites for sale
434- 297-2326


When:    Saturday, March 29
1pm – 4pm
What:     Music: 2 Wishes Live

Where:   Bold Rock Cider
1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy, Nellysford
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
434- 361-1030


When:    Saturday, March 29  
2 pm
What:     Music: Jacob Paul Allen
434-263-8463
  585 Mountain Cove Rd, Lovingston
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
434-263-8463


When:    Sunday, March 30
3 pm – 5 pm
What:     Highlander String Band
434-297-2326
2545 Rural Ridge Ln, N Garden
Cost:      Regular tasting fees
434- 297-2326


When:    Sunday, March 30
2:30 pm – 5 pm
What:     Music: Jason Ring
540-456-8020
Where:   Blue Mtn Brewery
9519 Critzers Shop Road, Afton
Cost:      Restaurant/Bar – no cover mentioned


When:    Sunday, March 30
2 pm – 5 pm
What:     Music: Sally Rose Band
Where:   Glass House Winery
5898 Free Union Rd, Free Union   
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
434 260-0094


When:    Sunday, March 30
12:30 – 4:30
What:     Music: John Tracy
Picnics welcomed
Where:   Cooper Vineyards
13372 Shannon Hill Rd, Louisa
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
540-894-5474

Friday, March 21, 2014




Events - Downtown Pedestrian Mall
2014


When:    Friday March 21

What:     SOJA
SOLD OUT 
103 S 1st. St, Charlottesville   
Cost:     
434-977-5590 


When:    Friday March 21
11pm
What:     Dance Party with DJ
Dance Pop and House Music
Where:   Escafe Restaurant
215 W. Water St., Charlottesville
Cost:      No cover mentioned
434.295.8668


When:    Friday March 21
Doors 7 pm, Show 8 pm
What:     Chamomile & Whiskey & David Wax Museum w/ the Dericks
Where:   Jefferson Theater 
110 East Main St, Charlottesville
Cost:      $10
800-594-8499


When:    Saturday March 22
Doors 8:30pm/Show 9 pm
What:     St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Americana
103 S 1st. St, Charlottesville   
Cost:      $10 Advance, $12 Door
434-977-5590 


When:    Saturday March 22

What:     Kap Slap
SOLD OUT
Where:   Jefferson Theater 
110 East Main St, Charlottesville
Cost:     
800-594-8499


When:    Saturday March 22
7 pm
What:     Bob Bennetta with Dick Orange

Where:   Escafe Restaurant
215 W. Water St., Charlottesville
Cost:      No cover mentioned
434.295.8668


When:    Sunday March 23
Doors 7:30 pm/Show 8pm
What:     Future Islands
434-977-5590 
103 S 1st. St, Charlottesville
Cost:      $13 Advance, $15 Door



When:    Sunday March 23
Doors 8 pm, Show 9 pm
What:     Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Where    Jefferson Theater 
110 East Main St, Charlottesville
Cost:      $12 Advance $15 Door
800-594-8499


When:    Sunday March 23
9 pm
What:     Karaoke!
434.295.8668
Where:   Escafe Restaurant
215 W. Water St., Charlottesville
Cost:      No cover mentioned



Events at / with the Wineries



When:    Saturday, March 22
9 am – 12 noon

Where:   T Jeff Ctr for Historic Plants
1293 Tufton Farm, Charlottesville
Cost:      $24
434-984-9800


When:    Saturday, March 22
2pm - 5pm
What:     Live Music by The Caddis Bros.
Blues, Folk, Bluegrass
4875 Fox Mountain Rd, Crozet
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
434-823-7605


When:    Sunday, March 23
2pm - 5pm
What:     Live Music by John Tracy
434-823-7605
4875 Fox Mountain Rd, Crozet
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
Picnics welcomed


When:    Saturday, March 22
12:30 – 4:30
What:     Curtis Prince
540-894-5474
Where:   Cooper Vineyards
13372 Shannon Hill Rd, Louisa
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
Picnics welcomed


When:    Saturday, March 22
2:30 pm – 5 pm
What:     Live Music - The Carvers
540-456-8020
Where:   Blue Mtn Brewery
9519 Critzers Shop Road, Afton
Cost:      Restaurant/Bar – no cover mentioned


When:    Saturday, March 22

What:     Pruning Workshop


Cost:      $45



When:    Sunday, March 23  
2 pm – 5 pm
What:     William Walter
434 260-0094
Where:   Glass House Winery
5898 Free Union Rd, Free Union   
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees


When:    Sunday, March 23  
12:30 – 4:30
What:     PB Ivories
540-894-5474
Where:   Cooper Vineyards
13372 Shannon Hill Rd, Louisa
Cost:      Regular Tasting Fees
Picnics welcomed


When:    Sunday, March 23  
1 pm
What:     French Crêpes

Where:   DelFosse Winery
500 DelFosse Winery Ln, Faber
Cost:   Starting at $5.00 per Crêpe
434-263-6100


Festivals



When:    Friday, March 21, 2014 – Sunday, March 23, 2014
What:     Festival of the Book
Where:   Various Locations

Cost:      Mostly Free, some $10, $20