Gary Clair


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The Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival is held on September 23-24 this year and will feature some of the region’s best award winning wines. The unique setting and interesting tastes from the growing region make the wineries here so so good. Even if you don’t attend the festival this year, you can tour the wineries on your own. Here are some of the best wineries in the region to visit during your Smith Mountain Lake trip.

Hickory Hill Winery

Hickory Hill is the oldest vineyard in the area and is currently in their 14th vintage. It was also voted the best area winery four years in a row by Laker Media. The tasting room is set in a 1923 farmhouse with a garden and vines to stroll through on the way. The Furrow family that owns the vineyard have studied the best ways to grow their wine. Kids and dogs are welcome on the property while the parents taste their lake themed wines. They also offer discounts for Smith Mountain Lake lodging guests.

Chateau Morrisette

This winery also has a restaurant on site and hosts frequent events like their locally famous “Black Dog Music Festivals”. The restaurant features an array of foods including salads, small plates, and sandwiches. The scenery here is beautiful and they offer a porch to sip wine on while you take in the Blue Ridge Mountain Views or indoor fireplaces when it’s colder. At Morrisette, dogs are very welcome to come with you on the tasting patio.

Atillo Vineyards

Atillo is a small, family owned winery that produces limited wine from grapes grown on their property. The winery and tasting room feels like a home with a deck, fireplace, and picnic areas to taste wines. The tasting fee is $10 and goes toward your wine purchase. The overlook deck sits high and overlooks the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and dogs are welcome there. Their Cabernet Franc is a guest favorite and is aged in French oak.

Peaks of Otter Winery

At the foot of Peaks of Otter in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the winery is a six generation family farm and popular wedding venue. They grow all the fruit used in their wines on the farm and don’t just use grapes but blueberries, elderberries, and more. The variety of fruits used in their wines produces interesting concoctions like their Cherry Cheese Cake or their Kiss The Devil Chili Pepper Wine made from 30 varieties of peppers. Dogs are also welcome in the outside areas at the winery.

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