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Ox-Eye Vineyards
by
Terry Sullivan

Ox-Eye VineyardsSummary: Ox-Eye is a winery tasting room located in an urban setting. The area has the nation’s second largest number of Victorian architecture buildings and attracts many locals as well as visitors.

John Kiers was exposed to wine while in the Navy and stationed in Europe. His parents had a farm and John thought that one could plant vines and grow old with them. The name Ox-Eye is an old fashioned name for a field daisy. The vineyard’s logo shows a play on words with an ox holding a daisy in its mouth

Vineyards

The vineyards and winery are seven miles from Staunton. Twenty acres of vines are planted at 1,800 feet including Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Lemberger and Pinot Noir. Grapes were originally sold to other wineries. Now, Ox-Eye produces about 1,000 cases of wine.

The life-blood of an urban winery is foot traffic. Ox-Eye Vineyards tasting room in Staunton, Virginia has the foot traffic in the city’s Wharf District. That part of town has the second highest number of Victorian buildings in the country. The wharf is not a water wharf, but a train wharf where bridges from the second floor of buildings met the train and goods could be rolled from the train to the buildings. Now the area is undergoing revitalization. The yellowish tinged building of the Ox-Eye tasting room draws visitors to it. Gold lettering on a door facing up the street beckons people to stop and investigate.

Ox-Eye VineyardsInside, the tasting room is bright. A small seating area is to the right of the main entrance. A flat screen television displays photos of the vineyards and winery just seven miles away. A display of wines is centrally located in the room while regalia of a former time rest on a shelf near the ceiling. The building, designed by T J Collins was built in 1904. It was used to sell coal and lumber.

Ox-Eye VineyardsThe tasting counter is at the other end of the room. The curved tasting bar, made of cherry wood cleared from the land where the vineyard grows, blends in well with the color scheme of the room. The soft tones the wood emits match the soft mouth feel of the wines. Several visitors can stand at the tasting counter and sample Ox-Eye wines.

Ox-Eye VineyardsWines

The 2010 Chardonnay was a light straw color. It offered apple and pear aromas and tastes with a hint of caramel. The crisp finish was fruity with a caramel aftertaste. The 2010 Gewürztraminer had a light straw color and a floral aroma with spice notes. There were roses on the taste and the wine had a crisp floral finish. The 2010 Riesling offered floral and hints of peaches on the aroma. The predominant peach taste had a crisp fruity finish.

The 2009 Pinot Noir was a light red. It offered a light red berry fruit aroma. The taste was of raspberries and strawberries. The wine had a crispy finish. The red 2009 Cabernet Franc had dark fruit and spice on the aroma. The black cherries and leather taste had a crisp fruity finish. The Lemberger was a ruby color with a dark fruit and spice aroma. The taste offered red cherries and cinnamon. The crisp finish had mild tannins.

While in Staunton, visit the Ox-Eye tasting room where you can discover food friendly wines made from cool climate grapes grown at 1,800 feet. A parking lot is across from the tasting room. Allow time to stroll pass the Victorian-styled buildings of the wharf.

Ox-Eye Vineyards
44 Middlebrook Avenue
Staunton, Virginia 24401

GPS: N38º 08.829’ W79º 04.436’


Visit these Virginia wineries and wine tour groups that partner with Wine Trail Traveler.

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