Posted by: twodogtales | October 17, 2010

Two wags for Chrysalis Winery

Well, okay, five wags! Two friends and I packed up our five big dogs and a picnic lunch for the hour long drive out to Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Va., Sunday afternoon. With the temperature in the mid-70’s, bright sunny skies and the trees starting to turn bright gold and orange, we couldn’t have asked for a better day trip to Virginia’s beautiful countryside. 

Chrysalis has plenty of dog-friendly picnic tables

After researching potential destinations earlier in the week and getting a very disturbing and rude email from one of the owners of Swedenburg Winery, I decided to try Chrysalis. I was somewhat apprehensive, their website is very clear that children are only welcome in a section of the property called The Family Area, and only thing the site says about dogs is that “all pets must be kept on a leash at all times.”

But Chrysalis proved very dog-friendly. The hostess inside the main building was thrilled that we’d brought our pups, and came out to visit once we’d gotten settled. There are lots of picnic tables scattered around the property overlooking the picturesque vineyards and a pond. We opted to tie the dogs to our table while we tasted wines at a close-by tent — the tables are sturdy, with metal frames and ample space in between them — but you can also bring your dog to the tent with you.  

tasting tent

The four tasting tents feature georgous views

Chrysalis is more structured than many wineries, tastings are held at 12-minute intervals, and you are sent to one of four numbered tents so everyone in your group begins the tasting at the same time. That’s actually better than random starts where if most of the group is further along, you can feel pressure to drink quickly and catch up.

There are two tasting options, the $5 “estate tasting” includes three whites and three reds, and the $10 “reserve tasting” adds five more reds to the initial six. This isn’t a wine blog, and I am far from an aficionado, so I’ll just say my favorites were the 2009 Chardonnay and the 2005 Norton Estate Bottled.

The gang enjoying the sunshine

While we enjoyed our post-tasting picnic lunch, the dogs wrestled each other, begged for food, rolled in the grass, and barked greetings every time a new dog came into view. They met Labs, Poodles, Beagles and more than a few mutts. Before we left, we managed to get the whole crew to sit still for a few seconds to take a group picture in front of the vines. Chrysalis gets a “paws-up!”


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