Unicorn Winery, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Warrenton, is a charming place to spend a summer afternoon. The winery is named after the famous Irish folk tune, “The Unicorn Song” by the Irish Rovers (think of the lyrics with green alligators and long-necked geese!). But of course the song is about how Noah was unable to convince the playful unicorn’s to get on the arc…they were too busy horsing around! However, I think that the spirit of the unicorn lives on at the winery named after the fun-loving animal.
The Unicorn property features 20 acres of woodlands, ponds, and gently rolling hills. Children and dogs may accompany responsible adults. There are two decks with cafe style tables and chairs overlooking a scenic koi pond, and there are plenty of picnic tables to satisfy a crowd or a more intimate gathering for two.
Unicorn Winery produces about 3,000 cases a year and in keeping with the think global, drink local concept all of the grapes used are from Virginia. The owners do purchase their pinot gris from Ingleside, but all of the other grapes are from their seven acres of vines.
The owners, Richard and Sandy, are retired military and moved to Virginia from the great state of California about two years ago. I found them to be fun-loving, warm, and welcoming. Sandy took some extra time to tell my friend and I stories about the vineyard, how she and Richard got into the wine business, and particulars about the wines we tasted. We also received several suggestions for food pairings and good “Wolf Trap wines” for hot summer evenings under the stars at the Vienna, Virginia based Wolf Trap Foundation Center for the Performing Arts.
For a $5 tasting fee we sampled 10 different wines. All of the whites were nice and light, perfect for the oppressive 90 degree plus temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. My favorites include the 2008 Pinot Gris and the Table Rock White which has a lovely nose and is a blend of Chardonnay, Seyval, Vidal, and Traminette. As far as the reds go, I enjoyed the 2005 Chambourcin and then 2005 Cabernet Franc. The wines are all reasonably priced for $14 to $25 a bottle, with the most expensive being a 2005 Meritage.
Several discounts are available, including: 5 percent off 3 bottles, 10 percent off 6 bottles, and 15 percent off 12 bottles. To get a 25 percent discount text “Unicorn” to 88467. Bread, meat, and cheese platters as well as gourmet items like Greek olive oil are also available for sale in the tasting room. The olive oil is really yummy…ask Sandy for a taste!
The tasting room can accommodate up to 20 or 30 people and seemed to be well staffed for a busy weekend. The owners’ friendly and well-behaved show dog, appropriately named Franc, greeted guests in the tasting room, which is decorated with paintings from a Charlottesville artist. Behind the wine bar there is a framed set of antique wine tools…be sure to ask one of the tasting room staff to tell you where each of the items is from!
The Unicorn wines are available at several local establishments, including: The Frenchman’s Cellar in Culpeper, The Virginia Wine Shop in Fredericksburg, and Ye Olde Dominion Wine Shop in Occoquan. Plan to visit Unicorn Winery on your next trip to Shenandoah National Park or on a Rappahannock County wine tour. For more information visit their website at www.unicorn winery.com and please tell Richard and Sandy that Lady Vino sent you!