The sound and sights of our local rivers beckon travelers from all over the world to Virginia’s River Realm. The waters have an inexplicable capability to calm the busy mind. The waters here also draw culinary day dreamers for the coastal delicacies they produce and inspire. From oysters, to fresh white bass, to hand-picked crabs, there’s something to satisfy any palate. It’s important to have the right stuff to wash it down. Fortunately, our region is also home to wineries, wine experts, and a new brewhaus. They’re here to make sure your relaxing and luxurious adventure is topped off with a taste of terroir and a dose of extra relaxation.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite spirit spots in the River Realm. At each one, you’ll not only discover a new wine or beer to love, you’ll meet friendly faces of the men and women who have made this region their home. They’ll share their food pairing recommendations, offer tips to explore their neighborhoods and share a laugh. Make sure you say, “Hi” and ask lots of questions.
Specials Wine Seller
52 South Main Street, KiImarnock, VA
Amy Groh Britt and her father Tom Groh have built a world within a world at Specials Wine Seller. Specials Wine carries more than 3,000 wines. The winding walls and rooms of this surprisingly large shop are not only lined with wine varietals from around the globe, but maps and historical monuments that nod to the history and importance of wine. Amy is a Certified Executive Wine Sommelier and offers wine tastings every Friday. It’s the perfect way to discover your new favorite spirit. Pick up a bottle and take it to a local restaurant like Chao Phraya for a small corkage fee. Sit back and enjoy the surroundings of endless wine whilst enjoying charcuterie boards, cheese boards and no corkage fees for any wines on you drink on site (you can always take leftovers home!)
170 White Fences Dr, Irvington, VA
Ride your bike or take a short drive from the Tides Inn or Hope & Glory to this special spot in Irvington. We even suggest bringing the dogs along for the fun. You’ll see furry friends wandering the grounds of Dog & Oyster Vineyard. Owner Dudley Patteson has rescued each one and brought them home to watch over his grapes. The grapes are responsible for a list of award-winning wines including the Chardonnel Reserve and the Rosie Rose. Dudley takes care to make sure each one pairs perfectly with the Virginia Oyster. You can visit the vineyard’s Sip & Slurp stand outside to taste for yourself. Oysters and more are served up here regularly.
1025 Goodluck Rd, Kilmarnock, VA
Slide into town on your next Crush Friday and make sure Good Luck Cellars is on your bucket list. Here, Wine Down Fridays is always lively and totally tasty. Good Luck Cellars welcomes Bryan Byrd of Byrd’s Seafood and local musician Bob Wilson for a relaxing party open to all. Wash down Byrd Seafood’s well known oyster or soft shell crab tacos or raw oysters with the vineyard’s extensive list of award winning wines. Enjoy your culinary finds on the vineyard’s wrap around porch overlooking the vineyard.
77 King Carter Dr, Irvington, VA
We’re excited to welcome the River Realm’s newest wine shop, Vine. The General Manager of Merroir, Terry Riggs knows a thing or two about creating special places in the River Realm. She’s put her know-how to work developing her new wine shop across the street from Hope & Glory Inn. There’s a big, open patio out front ready for sipping wine and enjoying small tapas dishes from the kitchen. The walls inside are lined with hand-selected wines, which the friendly staff will help you sift through with ease. Make room in your suitcase to take some home–after you’ve indulged here first, of course!
44 W Church St, Kilmarnock, VA,
Step into Kilmarnock Brewhaus and get a taste of Germany. Our first brewery is the perfect twist to your trip here to the River Realm. Stop in after brunch or come in after a day of adventures. You’ll discover a long list of brews on tap from the rich and chocolatey Mother’s Milk Stout to the malty Greir’s Gaire Pilsner. The industrial charm of the building is a great backdrop for a relaxing afternoon with friends. When you’re finished, head out on foot to grab a snack at NN Burger, Northern Neck Popcorn Bag or Carried Away Cuisine.
We’re proud to have so many creative and energetic events around the River Realm that highlight local cuisine and spirits. There is is something new almost every week. Visit our special events calendar to discover events like the Raise the Roof Craft Beer Festival in July or the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail Oyster Crawl held in the spring and fall.