Spend a day at Smith Mountain Lake’s beloved wineries
There is nothing more relaxing than a sun-filled day at Smith Mountain Lake. Crisp breezes, cool water and boat-side ice cream all evoke a sense of calm to anyone who visits. As the weather cools down, you might be looking for ways to enjoy the lake off the water. Jump in your car (and make sure you have a designated driver), then use this guide as a reference to tour the lake area’s fantastic wineries.
White Rock Vineyard, Winery and Brew Haus
At the northernmost point of Smith Mountain Lake, near Roanoke, is White Rock Vineyard, Winery and Brew Haus. White Rock is the ideal place to visit if you have friends in your group who prefer hops over grapes. An incredibly unique location, the owners at White Rock make wine and brew beer, so visitors will find the best of both worlds—often picking up notes from the wine in the beer and vice versa.
Owners Greg and Michele Bublitz handcraft their wine and beer on-site, extracting the wine from the grapes of their own private vineyard. Those vines create an idyllic backdrop for the rest of the winery. When you visit, you’ll notice picnics propped up across the grounds or couples enjoying a tasting over a perfectly curated cheese board.
Ramulose Ridge Vineyards
Head south and you’ll find Ramulose Ridge Vineyards. Coveted for its wedding and event space, Ramulose is as aesthetically pleasing as its wines are delicious. Visitors who come to Ramulose should plan accordingly: You’ll want to relax here all day.
Owners Jim and Sandi Ramaker first started dreaming up the idea of Ramulose after a weekend getaway to Smith Mountain Lake, and they’ve been inspiring lake visitors ever since.
Just as White Rock offers both wine and beer to visitors, Ramulose offers unique pairings of its own. Each of their wines can be paired with a specific cigar, offered on-site at Ramulose. From full-bodied and strong Green PA Broadleafs paired with white wine to dark and smooth Maduros with red wine, visitors can sit outside and enjoy perfectly-paired smokes and sips.
Brooks Mill Winery
If you’re okay with a little drive, head to Brooks Mill Winery on the southwest side of the lake. Known for its inventive blends that utilize our area’s blackberry and fruit harvests, Brooks Mill Winery is a favorite among those who like to take delicious risks with their wine.
Brooks Mill Winery is the only fruit winery along the lake. For those wondering, “Aren’t grapes fruit?”, there are quite a few differences between traditional grape wine and fruit wine. Typically, fruit wine has a lower alcohol content, with the alcohol by volume (ABV) averaging around 11 percent versus wine’s 13 percent or higher. Fruit wine also tends to be sweeter than traditional grape wines—with the blends’ shape shifting and adopting the flavors of the fruits used to make them.
On-site Brooks Mill grows blackberries, blueberries, pears, apples, peaches and cherries.
Hickory Hill Vineyards
Return to the eastern side of the lake for a final stop before returning to Lynchburg. Hickory Hill Vineyards is Smith Mountain Lake’s oldest vineyard, which has become a staple in the SML and Moneta communities. All grapes are grown, harvested, crafted and bottled right on-site on Hickory Hill’s stunning grounds. However, Hickory Hill does have a working partnership with two other local vineyards, with an agreement to share certain varietals for a better product.
Hickory Hill’s past is rather storied—with tails of hurricanes and hail storms, infectious insects and trial wine blends. But despite some challenges, Hickory Hill has risen above to produce internationally ranked wine.
Visitors can enjoy a relaxing picnic on the grounds with a bottle of their favorite Hickory Hill blend, or they can even find out which is their favorite during a tasting. What’s more, visitors can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the art and science behind making Hickory Hill’s award-winning wine.