The word adventure doesn’t usually come to mind when you think of wine tasting. You know how you usually just drive up to the winery? So sad. What if you could kayak up to the winery while taking in the gorgeous views? Well, on Virginia’s beautiful and quaint Eastern Shore, you can.
So what is this kayak and wine adventure?
“Paddle from the glass” is a guided kayak and wine tour run by Southeast Expeditions in partnership with Chatham vineyards. You’ll spend a wonderful day cruising the Chesapeake Bay, then stop along the way for a glass (or two) of award-winning Church Creek wine at Chatham Vineyards and Winery. How wonderful does that sound?
The tour begins on the banks of Nassawadox Creek in the remote village of Bayford, Virginia. After a short paddling lesson, you’ll head south to Church Creek, taking in the scenery, seeing eastern shore wildlife and hearing some interesting stories about the region.
When you arrive ashore at Chatham Vineyards, you’ll pull your kayak ashore and then head to the Chatham Tasting Room for delicious Church Creek Wines and a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility.
After the wine tasting, you can relax for a while at one of the tables overlooking the vineyard while enjoying the wine. Local cheese and bread are also available. After all that rowing, you deserve it. After you’ve finished your wine, you’ll get back into the kayak and sail back to where you started your journey.
The tour is $89 per paddler, which includes the guide, boat, gear and the Chatham Winery experience. Plus, you get a free bottle of wine for every two paddlers! First time kayakers are welcome and encouraged.
Wine and kayak tours are offered daily from March to December. Advance reservations through Southeast Expeditions are required. To book your Paddle Your Glass Off Kayaking and Wine Tour or just to learn a little more, visit their website at SoutheastExpeditions.com
How did Chatham Vineyards and Winery get started?
Chatham, owned and operated by John Vener and his wife Mills, has been a working farm for over four centuries. A second generation wine grower, John learned the art of grape growing from his parents who operated Great Falls Vineyard in Great Falls, Virginia for over thirty years. Since 1999, over twenty acres have been planted to French grape varieties including Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The winery was built in 2005 and currently produces 3,000 to 5,000 cases per year.
What is the history of Chatham?
The land at Chatham Vineyards lies along Church Creek, which was patented back in 1640 and has been a working farm for over four centuries. Driving up to Chatham Winery, you come down a long dirt road surrounded by gorgeous vines. At the end of this road, you can’t help but notice a beautiful Federal period brick house called Chatham, which was built in 1818 by a man named Major Scarborough Pitts. It was named after William Pitt, Earl of Chatham and a friend of the American Revolution. The property also has historic outbuildings, barns and two early 1900s homes that have been recently renovated. One of the homes, a 1915 farmhouse, is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath that guests can rent. This would be the perfect location for a relaxing and romantic getaway on the east coast.
If you want to skip the adventure and head straight for the wine tasting…
Chatham Vineyards and Winery
9232 Chatham Rd, Machipongo, VA 23405
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (April – December)
Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (January – March)
Tasting fee: $5/person