How to Book a Group Wine Tasting Tour in Charlottesville, VA

It won’t be long before the vineyards start looking like this photo! We have bud swell right now at Arcady Vineyard B&B.

Arcady Vineyard Wine Tours does not book groups. We only take two couples per van. But we do receive lots of booking requests from groups so we wanted to answer the questions we have been receiving.

Most of our wineries are small, but do have either a group tasting room or area designated for groups. If you are planning a trip of 7 or more people, you need to RESERVE YOUR TASTING TIME. We have been experiencing so many unreserved groups at the wineries, that they are having to start refusing service. Most wineries have ONE group tasting room, and if it’s booked and you show up without calling to reserve space, there is NOWHERE for them to serve you!

Some examples of possible tasting routes with suggested tasting times would be:

11 am at Stinson Vineyards, then 12 noon at Grace Estate Winery, then 1:30pm at Pollak Vineyards where you can taste and enjoy a picnic, and 3:30pm at Cardinal Point Winery or

11am at King Family, 1pm at Pollak Vineyards,  where you can picnic,  2:30pm at Veritas Vineyard , 3:30pm at Afton Mountain Vineyard or

11am at Virginia Wineworks (taste in the barrel room!) 12 am at First Colony where they have lots of room to picnic, 1:30pm at Trump Winery and 2:30pm at Blenheim Vineyards

Don’t walk in and wait at every winery for enough space to open for your group, which on a Saturday can be up to 30 minutes, or risk that they are slammed with no space for you. When you have reserved your space, your group is whisked into the group tasting room/area and they can offer you excellent service!

Now, THAT is how to have fun in Wine Country!!!

Now should you just show up on a whim, if the group space is not already booked, the wineries will generally scramble to accommodate if possible. But after cases of buses showing up and unloading sometimes up to 45 people unannounced, the wineries are being forced to create policies to avoid catastrophes!

Please note you must contact the wineries and usually prepay your tasting fees ahead of time. Your tour operator CANNOT prepay the tastings anymore per the ABC.  If you have a group, I would recommend allowing an hour per winery.

Icky stuff alert:  You must arrive on time, please! Groups are booked before and after you, and if you show up hours late, you will not be served, as some other group will be there for their reserved tasting time. Especially on holiday weekends and Saturdays, the group tasting space is often booked solid.  Think of group tastings like a restaurant reservation.

So when your poor driver tries to get you to get in the vehicle and move on, don’t give him/her a hard time!! They are trying to get you where you booked to go. Herding partying Bachelorettes or Family Reunions and such is like herding chickens sometimes.

Icky stuff alert: Also, should you arrive intoxicated, you will not be served. Even if you are not driving. Even if you have prepaid. Even if you have a reservation. It’s the law. No winery is going to risk their business license and violate the law by serving alcohol to a group who has had too much to drink.

For ideas on routes and what’s being poured now at the wineries, go to www.montielloappellation.com

Since most of the wineries are in the County of Albemarle, you should consider a stop for a picnic. The County does not allow restaurants, so snacks or a picnic lunch is a must. Do NOT bring alcohol to drink in your vehicle, as that is also not allowed. Our favorite stops for picnics are Feast! in Charlottesville and Greenwood Grocery in the Crozet/Afton area. The smart thing to do is call your order in ahead so you don’t get stuck waiting for sandwiches.

Now you have your group (bear in mind some party pooper always drops out… ) you need to check the different local companies that we think are the BEST IN TOWN! We love them all so will list them in group by the vehicles they offer. Now you have to consider if you are fine with a van, want a limousine, a bus, or must have a flashy classic car. All are available!

VANS
Norm’s Taxi – Norm is a great guy and drives 7 seater vans so can take up to 6 passengers per van. His vans are smoke free. Norm knows where all the wineries are located and where to pick up picnics. You can call him at (434) 327 – 9500. If you get a recording, PLEASE leave a message. He can’t answer the phone if he is driving and will certainly call you back as soon as he can. You can check his prices and calendar right on his website for availability – keep an eye on it as it changes constantly and what’s booked today might change to another date tomorrow.

LIMOS, BUS
Camyrn Limo is out at the wineries and breweries all the time! See if you can get Jack, he’s our favorite driver! They have limos, small buses and large buses.

VANS, BUS, LIMO, CLASSIC CAR

A&A Limo and Ambasssador – we see these folks out on the wine trail too! Not familiar with the drivers but the groups always look like they are having a lot of fun!


Blue Ridge Wine Excursions has it all! Andrea can handle two to two hundred! We have seen them out on the Monticello Wine Trail with everything from vintage limousines to Mercedes sedans to buses. Her staff are great and respond quickly.

Now there are other transportation companies – but we like to recommend local businesses, and these are the ones we see out on the wine trail all the time while we are touring that handle groups. 

And don’t forget to check reviews. We often receive calls on a Saturday morning from groups whose bookings did not work out. But beware the reviews that seem bizarre – just look for consistency. 

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