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“Impressive grounds, but overall disappointment”

Afton Mountain Vineyards
Ranked #3 of 12 things to do in Afton
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed July 11, 2013

Upon our arrival, yes in a limo bus, we did see the signs about requiring a reservation for groups larger than 6. Since the parking lot was empty, and the grounds were beautiful, we thought we'd ask if they could accommodate 14. The woman who met us, informed us that we really needed a reservation for a tasting, but when we asked if we could send a couple of us in to purchase bottles of wine and sit under the pavilion, she said she would check with a manager. We were pleasantly surprised when she returned carrying glasses and said we could surely do this. After three people from our party purchased 5 or 6 bottles of wine, we sat for about 10 minutes enjoying the wine and the view. We were not a rowdy bunch (truly! we are doctors, nurses, teachers!), but a gentleman working for the winery had his eye on us. He stood, arms crossed in front of the entrance just staring at us. Then he walked up to one man in our group and snarled something along the lines of, "You need to pour that out now, and not down your throat. You all just need to leave. You aren't even supposed to be here without a reservation."--Yes, our friend was absolutely wrong in bringing a beverage off the bus, but most of us had not even realized he had it with him. He is not a wine drinker and hasn't been to wineries, so he didn't think anything of it. He could have been spoken to in a respectful manner. A simple, "Hey, I'm sorry you can't have alcoholic beverages aside from our wine here, could you pour that out?" would have taken care of it. Instead of waiting to have a conversation with our friend, this employee spoke his piece and stomped away towards our bus. After talking with our driver, he turned, crossed his arms and glared at us again. Obviously not feeling welcome, a couple of our husbands went to speak with him, but he wouldn't have a conversation with them. He just told them we weren't supposed to be there. So instead of letting anything escalate we left.

My main issue with this is...If you have this 6 person policy, fine stick to it. BUT Afton Mountain Vineyards agreed to let us buy wine and sit under the pavilion to enjoy it. Unfortunately, enjoy it we did not. The gentleman who did not seem to have much training with customer service/dealing with/interacting with customers put a damper on our day. We will not be back to Afton Mountain Vineyards.

Another concern that I have is that, had we arrived driving ourselves individually or in 3 separate vehicles--our parties would have been correct in size. Since we were being responsible and not drinking and driving, we could not be accommodated. This doesn't quite seem right. In any regard, we won't return to Afton Mountain, but we will double check on any other wineries for reservations next year when our group reconvenes.

We were greeted, accommodated, and treated with utmost respect at Veritas Vineyards and Bold Rock Cidery.

1  Thank 736TimeOut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hunter S, Manager at Afton Mountain Vineyards, responded to this reviewResponded July 12, 2013

Sorry that our effort to make an exception to our policies in order to accommodate your group resulted in a disappointing experience for all of us. As a result of that experience we reminded all staff of the need to strictly enforce our group policies. The Virginia ABC laws and signs on our property are very clear regarding the consumption of other alcoholic beverages on our premises. Our options per ABC regulations when we see someone drinking a beer on the property are to ask the person to pour it out or leave - continuing to consume it is not an option. Your actions were a violation of Virginia ABC law that could have cost us our license and livelihood.

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Reviews (151)
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100 - 104 of 152 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2013

This has to be one of the most beautiful vineyards we have ever been to. There is a gorgeous outdoor pavillion, lots of outdoor seating and tables with umbrellas where guests can enjoy a snack and a glass of wine. The mountain scenery was breathtaking.

Thank Denice G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013

We've been buying wines from Afton for 20 years. It started in a small building and specialized in Gewürztraminer and dry Rieslings. Now they have a great tasting room with a nice view and mediocre wine. We were disappointed to learn that we bought the last vintage of Gewürztraminer to be produced. There is no reason for us to continue our visits since all the people who put the winery on the map no longer are associated with it and our favorite wine has been discontinued.

1  Thank HTalisker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hunter S, Manager at Afton Mountain Vineyards, responded to this reviewResponded July 1, 2013

We love our Gewurztraminer - and so do our customers like you. It is our best-selling wine, and as a result we ran out of the 2011 vintage last weekend. The 2012 vintage will be bottled soon and released in a few weeks - and we'll get the 2013 out as soon as we can - no stopping the Gewurztraminer!

We do not grow Riesling, and our ability to produce that wine was dependent on our ability to consistently purchase good quality fruit - and we have chosen to focus our wines on the grapes that we grow in our vineyard. We have Albarino, a wonderful Spanish white that pairs well with similar foods to the Riesling, producing its first crop this year and look forward to having it in the lineup next year.

We hope to see you again soon when we have released a new Gewurz vintage.

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Reviewed June 22, 2013

It was a good place to meet and the views were great, but you would not just 'drive by' this place. There were three wines selected; one was pretty good, one was not so good and one was okay. The view was good, but the workmen were sanding all around the pavilion and main building, so it was bit annoying to sit outside and enjoy the environment because of the loud sound. Don't get me wrong, I understand they need to work on the place (not that it was run-down) but I sure wish they did the work on a day(s) they are closed. This area seems to be all on the same level, so no steps to climb. Make sure your car brakes are in very good shape and that you have plenty of gas. There are a lot of very long steep hills and several miles to gas.

Thank Razorback-n-Michigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 12, 2013

This past weekend a group of 12 of us did one of the wine limo tours, and Afton was our first stop. After riding the 1-1/2 hours from Richmond, we were ready to do a tasting and to enjoy a couple bottles of wine in their patio area. Turns out you have to have a reservation to do a tasting for a group of 7 or larger. We didn't know about reservations, so shame on us for not checking ahead first. And I would understand being turned away if the place was slam packed or they were in the middle of some big event or something. They had signs that they did have a wedding that day at 5:30pm, but we had arrived at 12:30pm.

So we arrive in the parking lot and get off the bus and are immediately met by a man at the door who tells us about the reservation "rule" and that we can't come in, and then throws our limo driver under the bus and says he should have known that, and known not to bring us there without a reservation. We offered to come in two at a time as the tasting room space would allow...no go. The man (who acted like the person in charge, but we never really found out if he was or not) said he would allow 6 of us to come in, and the other 6 could get back on the bus and go down the road to Veritas Vineyards. We didn't rent the bus, to then split our group up at two different wineries.

So then we suggested that he allow us to just come in and purchase several bottles and then go out into the patio area or yard to drink it (there were 3 people in the patio area the whole time we were "negotiating" from the parking lot. He said no, the "rules" wouldn't allow him to sell wine to a large group that didn't have a reservation. Wow! We weren't disrespectful, hadn't had the first drink of alcohol yet, and were not being argumentative. We were just trying to solve a problem, albeit our problem for not having a reservation. And he wouldn't even sell us bottles of wine.

So we climbed back on our bus and drove less than a mile down the road to Veritas Vineyards. We didn't have a reservation there either, and they have the same rules on large groups. Like Afton, they had 15 or so people in the tasting area, but they weren't slammed. And guess what? They worked with us, accommodated our group at two different tables, we had a great time and by the time we had left with our wine & cheese they were about $400 richer. Could have been Afton's $400, but they didn't want it.

I could understand the experience we had if there were no spots in the parking lot, and they had people lined up out the door. Like a busy restaurant on a Saturday night, where you know a reservation is the BEST way to get in without waiting a couple hours. But that wasn't the case here, and to not be willing to sell us any wine was ridiculous. If you're in the area, go with Veritas.

4  Thank mike b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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