Most people spend a lot of time planning trips and choosing spots to visit while they’re traveling. Often we miss out on great finds close to home. That is what happened to me. While spending time visiting wineries in the state and in the region, I overlooked visiting a local winery. After all, I could go there anytime. Saturday evening I finally visited Verona Vineyards. While it was worth the wait, I can’t believe I hadn’t visited sooner. The vineyards are lovely, the winery is located in a charming tasting room, and the wine is really good.
Verona Vineyards (Isn’t that a great name for a winery?) opened in the summer of 2011. The owners are Charlie Payne, his daughter Peggy Payne Montgomery and her husband Dan Montgomery. Charlie oversees the day-to-day activities at the vineyard. Peggy and Dan both have outside careers, but spend a lot of their time running the winery. Dan is the winemaker and is producing wines that visitors will enjoy. The winery is open to visitors on Friday evenings and on Saturdays. Special events such as Saturday’s Art Show are frequently held.
The vineyard was planted in 2005, mostly with Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc vines, later Dornfelder was added. Wines from those grape varieties are offered for tasting along with some sweeter selections of Muscato, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer. The sweeter wines are made from purchased juice.
As a lover of big reds, my personal favorite was their Dornfelder. The Dornfelder is a relatively young grape variety having been developed as a cross of two other red varieties. It is one of the most popular red grapes in Germany. Dornfelder wines are a deep red with a floral aroma and flavors of berries.
On Saturday, we strolled through the booths of arts and crafts vendors, dined on barbecue sandwiches, tasted the wines, toured the winery, and drove back to the vineyard. We were welcomed by the owners and made to feel at home. This won’t be our last visit.