Six wineries down on the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail and one winery down from my list of 10 wineries to visit in 2016. We visited to the Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Irvington for the first time on a Saturday afternoon in early January. Despite the cold, the place was busy!
First impressions got me excited for the tasting as I pulled up the drive through the two large corkscrews at the vineyard’s entrance. After parking, we were greeted by dogs inside the fence of one of the vine fields. Outside the tasting room were benches for picnics, including a couple of tables inside their screened porch with oyster shells decorating the tables to decorate.
The tasting room was small but perfect for the two of us. We had a nice and informative tasting and particularly liked the:
2014 Oyster White – This wine is made with 100% Chardonel. It had a sweet edge with a light, crisp taste and a hint of apple from the orchard that used to be planted where the vines are now located.
2014 Rosie – This is a dry, light rose. This would be a nice, refreshing summer wine and one a group would agree on.
2013 Shelter Dog Red – This wine is made with 100% Chambourcin. The first taste was a black pepper. A light, earthy Chambourcin and the bottle we bought to take home.
The tasting included a sample of five wines: two whites, a rose, and two reds. The bottles ranged from $25 to $33 for purchase. Most of their wines are aged in stainless steel, and all their wines were on the dryer side. The grapes were all grown on estate. A note on their Chambourcin bottle we bought mentioned the wine was vinted and cellared at Good Luck Cellars down the road in Kilmarnock. One of the things I liked most about the tasting was their recommendations on what foods to pair with the wine, particularly what style oysters, a popular treat in the Northern Neck! Certain times of year, Friday through Sunday, they offer a selection of oysters and other specialties.
My favorite thing about the Vineyard is that they are SUPER dog friendly. Not only are pets welcome, but they have seven rescue dogs there at the Vineyard and treats for you to give them. The dogs also help to defend the vines from deer and other critters who may try to sneak a grape. You can tell how dog-friendly they are, not only by the name, but by the artwork on their bottles.
In town, they have their own boutique hotel, the Hope and Glory Inn. We did not have the chance to visit the Inn, but I have seen nice reviews.
I would recommend pairing a trip to this Vineyard with another winery (like Good Luck Cellars) nearby along the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail. There are a number of things to do in town too, from taking a boat out and fishing out along the Chesapeake Bay or in the river to historic attractions such as the Steamboat Era Museum or Historic Christ Church.
Enjoy the beautiful Irvington area! Cheers!