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First VA Winery Visit of 2019

As we trip through our days as a producer of pet treats made with small, family-run, mostly local meats and ingredients, we continue to thirst for knowledge about Virginia's agritourism businesses. This year we will be focusing on wine in our spare time as we continue to develop our understanding of varietals and what makes them successful or not in Virginia.

January 5, 2019 - We finally started our journey to complete a visit to all 273 wineries in the state of Virginia. Because we started the day taking our daughter back to college in Newport News, we decided to start our year off with a visit to Mermaid Winery in Norfolk. Mermaid Winery is considered the first "urban" winery in Virginia. It also has a second location in Virginia Beach. The Norfolk location is in the "Ghent" neighborhood, in town. No vineyards, no land, etc. - just a small, inconspicuous brick building and parking lot which made us wonder if we were in the right place at first. Upon entering the building, the establishment was eclectic, warm and the staff were friendly. A full food menu is offered as well. The outdoor area has a small area with a patio and tables; however, it was unclear whether this area was pet friendly or not. There are no grassy areas. Also, a rather busy train runs past there every few minutes, so I'm not sure how conducive that would be to conversation on any given day.

Eric chose to try the "Cabernet Flight" while I decided to do a more general "Red Wine Flight". His flight included five tastings from California, Spain, Washington, France and the Mermaid Cabernet Sauvignon from Virginia (shown in pic above). His favorite was the Mermaid varietal, which is produced with grapes purchased from vineyards in both California and Charlottesville, VA. I tasted it as well and it was fabulous! Eric described it as "fruity, with a hint of spice" and I would have to agree. It was quite smooth as well. The cost runs ~$40/bottle.

My wine flight included the wines shown above (Red Wine Flight). My two favorites were the Kiona (which one of the servers told me afterwards is a "fan favorite") and the Seven Falls Cellars from Washington (which we both liked!). The Kiona was bolder than I usually like but it was surprisingly smooth and got better with each taste. The Seven Falls was a bit dry with a peppery nose and was bolder than I usually like, but it grew on me as well. The Kiona Lemberger 2014 costs ~$13-$20 per bottle online when available (I googled and and the Seven Falls Cellars 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon costs anywhere between $15-$20 online as well (I found it on for $15.69/bottle). I found the German wine a bit pungent and while the Spanish one was OK, it had tastes that I wasn't familiar with in wine (i.e. licorice....) and I found it to be a bit "different". I think I would have to develop a taste for it and then I may appreciate it a bit more.

In closing, I remember what a wine sommelier once told me when I first started dabbling into it. Everyone's tastes in wine are different; therefore the BEST wine is the one YOU like! Information about Mermaid Winery can be found at

Because neither Eric or myself are particularly fond of white wine, we would welcome anyone who wants to join us on any of our excursions! Your input would be included so that we aren't leaving out information that may be useful for those white wine aficionados out there! Also, any ideas/feedback that you have to help us with this blog would be welcomed.

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