Wine Down By the River: Our Vino Picks in the River Realm

There’s a saying: “In good wine there is truth.” During October, we hope to find a lot of truth. It’s National Wine Month. 

We’re ready to celebrate with friends, new and old. Good stories, warm hugs, and decadent meals will abound. As the leaves change, temperatures stay cozy here. The views are enchanting and the drinks are world class. October is the perfect time of year to fill up your glass in the River Realm. 

Here’s a collection of some of our favorite wine experiences…


Grab a Bottle and Go

If you’re on the go exploring the River Realm, you can bring your booze with you for a picnic by the water, on a canoe, or next to the hiking trail. In Urbanna, you’ll discover a finely curated collection of wines and craft beers in the Something Different shop. It’s adjacent to the restaurant, which is known for award winning barbecue, homemade pies, and other delicacies, some of which you can take home with you, too!  For a more seafood-forward selection, stop into J & W Seafood in Deltaville. Along with wine and microbrews, you can pick up prepared seafood dishes, gourmet foods, beverages and sauces. You can also fill up your trunk with live crabs, steamed crabs, soft shell crabs, raw oysters, scallops, shrimp, clams, and rockfish


Learn A Bit

We have a few experts here who can help you pick out the perfect wine for your pallet. Start with Specials Wine Seller in Kilmarnock. Amy Groh Britt and her father Tom Groh have built a treasure chest of more than 3,000 wines. The walls and shelves are lined with wine varietals from around the globe as well as maps and historical monuments that highlight the history and importance of wine. Amy is a Certified Executive Wine Sommelier and offers wine tastings every Friday. In Irvington across the road from Hope & Glory Inn, you’ll discover another wine lover’s haven: Vine. The open patio outside is perfect for sipping your favorite selection after a tasting inside. You can stop in at any time to browse the selection; and the helpful staff will have the answers to all of your wine questions. On Wednesdays, the tasting room is open for guests to sample new varieties, complete with pairings like ropa vieja  and freshly shucked local oysters. Bring Fido too, the patio is pet friendly.


Wine Art

If you haven’t heard, we’re home to a large community of artists. They are inspired by the region in many ways. That means the wine, too. You can discover hand painted wine glasses, wine accessories and home decor at a variety of our unique boutiques. In Urbanna, stop into Cyndy’s Bynn, Fin & Pearl, Lowe-Tide Boutique, and RS Bristow’s Store. Down the road a little further south, make a pit stop at River Birch Gifts on the way to Deltaville. Once you make it to Deltaville, spend time meandering Nauti Nell’s collection of art and home goods. Across the river in Kilmarnock, one of our newest shops is The Rivah, and we promise it’s worth the trip. The boutique carries a fun collection of apparel, accessories, and gifts inspired by wine, nature and, of course, the river.  


Pair it with Fresh Seafood

If you want to enjoy wine the River Realm way, we insist you pull up a seat at the bar or a table at one of our incredible restaurants. The chefs, wait staff, and regulars are there to help you find the perfect wine to pair with anything on the menu. Some of our favorites on the western side of the River Realm include the newly opened Portside Grill and Deltaville Tap and Raw Bar, both of which are on the water. Inland, you’ll discover The Table at Wilton, Eckhard’s German & Italian Cuisine, and the Half Shell Grill. We can’t forget  Merroir, the first tasting room of Rappahannock Oyster Company that overlooks the waters where their fresh oysters are grown.  Everything is served small-plate-style and beautifully paired with craft brews and world-famous wines. 

Across the water, head into the Chesapeake Restaurant at the Tides Inn, which serves a unique atmosphere of laidback luxury and natural beauty.  Set in Carter’s Creek, you can enjoy a meal inside or on the terrace, both with a view. Pair your appetizers and entrees with wines from the restaurant’s extensive wine collection. Don’t miss the Fall Wine Dinner Series. Starting September 30, on the last Monday of every month;  enjoy four courses of coastal gastronomy and Virginia wine pairings at the Chesapeake Restaurant. Newly opened restaurants Adrift and Dredge feature creative menus to accompany their inclusive and curated wine and spirit lists. 


Winery Time

We love the water, but we love the earth, or “terroir” as we call it, for giving us wine. Our two River Realm wineries are experiences all on their own. At Dog & Oyster Vineyard in Irvington, you’ll discover a list of award-winning wines including the Chardonnel Reserve and the Rosie Rose. Each one pairs perfectly with the Virginia Oyster, which you can try at the winery’s Sip & Slurp stand outside. In Kilmarnock, Good Luck Cellars is tucked away in a dreamy landscape of trees, vines, and grassy knolls. Wine Down Fridays is always lively with local music, fresh food truck delicacies, and wine tastings. Sangria Sundays beckon to connoisseurs looking for a twist on the vineyard’s wine.  Enjoy your favorites on the vineyard’s wrap around porch overlooking the landscape. 


Take it for a Ride

Immerse yourself in the River Realm by bringing your own wine, from any of the restaurants, shops or stores above. Be sure to bring along snacks, because you may want to stay a while. Golden Age Charters can pick you up from your favorite waterside restaurant or marina and cruise you and your crew around the river on a historic buyboat for a enchanting view of the sunset.


Save the Date:

Urbanna Wine and Oyster Stroll 

October 12

Stroll along the charming streets of Urbanna while tasting samples of wine and local bites at participating restaurants and shops. Learn more and purchase tickets. 

Urbanna Oyster Festival 

November 1 + 2

The 62nd Annual Urbanna Oyster Festival is all set to take over the River Realm. Amidst foodie finds, artisan discoveries and live music, you’ll find the Wine Tent tucked away. Be sure to stop in to enjoy Virginia wines. Learn more. 

Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail Fall Oyster Crawl

November 9 + 10

The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail weaves its way through the River Realm. Join in on a weekend of wine and oyster pairings that include stop at Good Luck Cellars and Dog & Oyster Vineyard. Learn more. 


Share Your Sippin Pics

We know you’ll have fun in the River Realm wining and dining. With views, booze, and food like ours, we know you’ll want to snap a photo or maybe dozens. Help us show off all the fun to be had here. Tag us in your fall wine pictures on Instagram at @virginiasriverrealm.

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