New Zealand sits high on our constantly evolving list of places that we dream of house sitting someday. One day I was trying to articulate to someone why I want to go there and Jason piped in ‘it’s the wine.’

Guilty as charged. I’m sure it’s a lovely country and there is a lot to see and do there but here’s the thing – I love vino. I particularly love wine from New Zealand. Some people come to Mexico for the tequila, others go to Ireland or Germany for the beer. I want to go to New Zealand for the wine. But please understand, I am not a wine snob. At All. I’ve tried boxed wine (to the chagrin of a friend or two) and cheap wine and not so great wine (usually those things all tend to go together). I’ll try it all. And so you can imagine my surprise and delight when we arrived at our recent house sit in the Blue Ridge Mountains and found out we were in the middle of Virginia wine country. You probably already knew that was a thing, but I didn’t. I truly had no idea. Probably because I can’t stop thinking about New Zealand.

Virginia Wine Country
Visiting wine country in the winter means the vines are bare – but those grapes were picked at some point and are ready for drinking somewhere.

Once I heard about this magical Virginia wine country I started to do some research and discovered that there are more than 200 wineries in Virginia. And you know what wineries usually offer? That’s right, wine tastings (Between the wine and the moonshine, I’m starting to figure out where the slogan ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ came from). Only being in Virginia for a month I didn’t think we’d be able to make it to them all. I mean I was up for the challenge, but then Jason reminded me of things like work, and taking care of the property and also, as much as I wish it was, wine isn’t free. So instead we found a couple of wineries that were close to our house sit and had great reviews and got to tasting.

First we stopped by WhiteBarrel winery. It’s a newer, younger winery which was reflected in the building design, the people who worked there and the clientele.  Does it make me sound old to say that this place was a hipper kind of winery? (Yes, yes it does).

Waiting for the wine
While we appreciate the wine education, it would be a lot better to be tasting it.

 

Deidre drinking wine
That’s better.

 

White Barrel Wine
Younger and newer aside, the wine was tasty and worth stopping by for.

After we tasted what the hip kids are drinking at White Barrel we headed to an older, more established winery called Chateau Morrisette.

 

Chateau Morrisette
A fancy pants winery that let us in, even in our nomadic clothing.

 

Wine making at Chateau Morrisette
Where the wine gets made (Don’t quote me on that, I have no idea what I’m talking about – I once drank boxed wine).

And this place? Oh you guys, the only thing this winery loves more than wine is dogs. The story goes, the founder of the winery had a dog named Hans who loved his wine. He regularly made the rounds and lapped up the wine spillage during production – he was partial to the reds. Hans has long since passed, but Chateau Morrisette’s commitment to wine and dogs remains. Dogs are a part of their history as well as their present. They host pet adoption days at the winery, dog are welcome to visit, and they have dogs on all of their labels, website and packaging. So yeah, I hadn’t even tasted the wine yet and I was instantly in love.

Hans
Dogs + Wine = Love.

 

Deidre at Chateau Morrisette
Do not be alarmed, I wasn’t so enamored with dogs that I failed to drink the wine.

 

Wine at Chateau Morrisette
And then I bought the wine. One of each please.

So you know what we found out after all this wine tasting? Virginia wine country has got it going on. This wine is good. Like really, really good. I guess now you can consider me a convert. Not only is the wine good, but the views that accompany the wine tasting cannot be beat. The Blue Ridge Mountains are something spectacular to see, even in the winter.

Blue Ridge Mountains
Beautiful sunsets, beautiful wine.

I mean I’m not giving up on going to New Zealand (or Napa for that matter) but discovering this delightful surprise on a random house sit is pretty amazing. And so now I’m off to start plotting how to book all future house sits in wine country locations without Jason figuring it out (although I think he might already be on to me).