A trip to Charlottesville wouldn't be complete without some winetasting. For me, it's as much about the view as it is about the wine. It might even be more about the view. A glass of something tasty along with a picnic and a sunny day and I am the happiest girl I know.
My favorite: King Family Vineyards. The grounds were huge and beautiful. The staff member in the tasting room was very friendly (but not fake or patronizing) and knowledgable. They had cheese/bread/etc for sale, which was not around at the other wineries. Also, there were plenty of tables and grass space for picnicking and enjoying the faboosh views (something the others lacked--which is shocking, since picnic space is all the rage in NoVa wineries). And on summer weekends they host polo matches and tons of people come to watch and picnic and stomp the divots (a la Pretty Woman). They had lovely banquet space too--not too big, but a smaller wedding would be perfection there.
At Horton Vineyards, you can try as much as you want. We didn't get much information, but it was late in the day. Nothing about what is grown/made on-site, or really any chit chat at all. We bought a bottle for our parents and scooted along.
We also went to Keswick Vineyards (nice people, nice wines, they gave the rec to go to King Family, actually) and Barboursville. Barboursville was pretty busy for a Monday afternoon, and for $5 you try 17 wines. SEVENTEEN! We didn't have any meaningful snacks during the Monday afternoon winetasting, and we got up for sunrise that morning. That meant an early evening nap and headaches all around.
If a taste is 2 oz and we had 27 tastes total on Monday, and "one drink" of wine is 5 oz, then we drank 10 glasses of wine. I think the tastes must have been smaller, because that would be ridiculous. Even cut in half, that's a lot for me. Hence the headache.
Barboursville: bang for buck at tasting ($5 for keepsake glass, taste of all wines, even reserves and their award-winning Octagon, $30/bottle). Watch a video with their Italian winemaker Luca Paschina here.
King Family: beautiful grounds, friendly staff, tasty wines. We bought their dessert wine, because we like it but never have any. It was not too syrupy sweet or anything, and we'd already bought bottles of red and white at others that we liked.