Classic Tasting: Seven wines, $11 per person
Reserve Tasting: Entire selection offered, $14 per person
Private Tasting: Reservation only. Entire selection offered, $20 per person
(Complimentary tasting glass included for all tastings)
*Classic and Reserve tastings are first come first served, available only at the tasting bar
*Reservations required for parties of 10 or more
*No shared tastings
The greatest vineyards in the world share one common trait: vines in balance. Through a combination of science and art, wine makers rigorously analyze and control a region’s key inputs, including sunlight, water, canopy, nutrients and crop load. The balanced vine yields a balanced grape, and so it begins.
At Upper Shirley Vineyards, we think of a great wine grape as a balance between complex flavors, sugars, acids and more.
We believe we stand the best chance of finding that elusive balance with our intentional lack of mechanization and by nurturing each individual vine, one at a time, as often as six times a year, all 12,000 of them.
Established in 2013, Upper Shirley Vineyards has 16 acres under vine with plans to expand. We diligently selected varieties of European vitis vinifera grapes to match our terroir.
Petit Verdot, a Bordeaux red grape valued for its spice and tannin in a blending role, has now become a successful single varietal here in Virginia.
Viognier, a Rhone Valley white grape, the official Virginia grape, has wonderful aromas of peach and pear.
Merlot, another of the five Bordeaux red grapes, ripens early and is softer in tannin than its blending partners.
Tannat, a lesser-known Basque red grape, is now making some of the most impressive wines in Virginia.
a range of high quality wines to savor during every occasion
For extra easy drinking, look to our #2 White, Rosé or #1 Red
For more dressy or tasteful occasions, our Chardonnay and Viognier are ideal compliments
Seeking a celebratory supplement? Our Sparkling Rosé and Blanc de Blanc have all the 'pop' you need
Our Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot compliment all that is savory, from spicy braised eggplant to rockfish or a New York strip, and age wonderfully in the cellar
The Tannat and Zachariah are as good as they get, best for keeping cellared to parcel out during special occasions for years to come, though it can be difficult to make them last – these tasty two were winning awards as soon as they were bottled
wine purchases available Online
* Shipment limited to the state of Virginia only*
Whites | Rosé | Sparkling
Something old, something new, and something, well, a bit wild. Master vintner Michael Shaps and owner Tayloe Dameron let their taste buds tinkle the pines with this aromatic white blend, trying out a variety of compositions before agreeing on a melodious blend of Chardonnay (classic), Petit Manseng (thick skinned from the wilds of Western France) and Traminette (an international hybrid and Indiana’s state grape) with a touch of estate Viognier. The result is a fruit forward, off-dry wine that is eminently approachable and perfect for a casual cocktail. Fermented in-tank with a portion in neutral barrel, our white blend tastes of flowers and juicy orchard fruit, an ideal compliment to the spring bloom or a tasteful reminder during the cooler seasons of the warm weather to come.
[SOLD OUT] Rosé can be made from almost any type of grape, yielding a vast variety of peach and cherry hues and a range of flavors to match. This classic tank-fermented Rosé is handcrafted from our estate-grown Merlot, with about 10% from a field mixture of old-vine Italian varietals like Sangiovese (literally “the blood of Jupiter”) and others from our Honnalee property outside of Charlottesville. The field mixture allows us to fine-tune our blend to give it that ideal rosé coloring – a lush shade of pink – with a bone-dry and crisply acidic taste that exhibits aromas of tree blossoms, cherry and fresh berries framed by mouthwatering natural acidity. Highly recommended for warm evenings on the porch, cool evenings by the fire, and those seeking to vault their oysters on the half shell to a mystical tasting experience.
Silver Medal Winner, Virginia Governor's Cup 2017. Chardonnay gets presented in one of the widest ranges of varietal wine you can find. But when it comes to crafting the perfect Virginia iteration of this most classic Burgundy grape, we have a bit of an edge. Our winemaker, Michael Shaps—the most decorated winemaker in Virginia—learned his craft in Burgundy, where he still makes Chardonnay at his French estate. Harvested at the optimal ripeness on our Hon lee property in Gordonsville, our 2015 edition is light, crisp, and fruity, with the lush volume on the palate that Chardonnay is famous for. Barrel fermented, aged in 10% new French oak for eight months, it retains its fruit with balanced acidity.
Silver Medal Winner, Virginia Governor's Cup 2017. We approach our brut style sparkling Chardonnay with an eye for celebration. Time sur lie gives it bready notes and depth, and its 100% Chardonnay grapes leave it with a contagious effervescence. It’s a perky start to a big night.
Viognier (pronounce “Vyon yay”), the official grape of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is known for its big perfume aromatics and its childish reluctance to behave in the vineyard, a behavior so poor that this grape was once threatened with extinction. But it's worth the trouble – this low-yield, temperamental varietal is exceedingly tasty and our most popular wine, so much so that we recently added more Viognier vines, bringing our property total to 4,500. We're proud to grow some of the best Viognier in the state, and treat it with the delicacy it deserves, soaking the crushed grapes on their skins before giving the juice a long, cool fermentation in stainless tanks. The wine emerges fresh and lively, full of peach and stone fruit flavors, with a richness the official Virginia grape is known for.
Even our taste buds appreciate a relaxing bubble bath every once in a while – our Sparking Rosé Italian field blend is crisp, clean and effervescent, allowing you to whet your pallet with a wine that's dry and pleasantly tart, with a soothing aftertaste that renews as each bubble evaporates. 11.7% ABV
“A bubbly bonanza, this bone-dry, crisp sangiovese-based blend with tart acidity is a good way to complement appetizers or relax with while reading a good book.” –Jack Berninger, Richmond Times-Dispatch
This soft, lighthearted red, with 1% residual sugar and low in tannins, is the spiritual companion to our #2 white. Aged briefly in oak barrels and gently fermented, the grapes of this Malbec, Chambourcin, Merlot blend provide a deliciously versatile red that’s as tasteful chilled in the summer heat as it is paired with BBQ or Jambalaya. It’s fruit forward, off dry. Dangerously easy.
Silver Medal Winner, Virginia Governor's Cup 2017. This lesser known red grape, a Southern France native, is relatively new to Virginia, and is already schooling the established cool kid Virginia grapes in terms of flavor, depth and notable French artist mystique. Not only does it thrive in the heat and humidity, it's now producing some of the most inky and elegant wines in the state. We employ extended maceration to our harvest, aged 17 months, half in new French Oak. The result a tall, dark and handsome fella with a dark and brooding temperament, with notes of plum and black cherry. It has soft tannins, great volume and nice length. Lay it down in the cellar for or drink it now – it pairs beautifully with any kind of meat.
[SOLD OUT] Arguably this grape got Virginia started and a perennial favorite, this medium body red balances its fruit with spice and earthy notes. All about the purity of the fruit, our Cabernet Franc has berry notes framed by herbs and forest fragrances. It is in essence a true Virginia Franc, aromatically alluring with multiple layers of texture.
Gold Medal Winner, Virginia Governor's Cup 2017. 13.3 % ABV [SOLD OUT] Not to worry, you can’t keep Big Zach down for long (though it ages exceeding well in the cellar). We're bottling the 2015 Zachariah in June, with a planned release this fall.
"The Zachariah is named in honor of my father, Big Zach, who departed this world in 2016, and so it was with warm and tender heart that I learned of this special honor to his memory. Like him, this blend of 46% Merlot, 31% Petit Verdot, 15% Malbec, and 8% Tannat embodies confidence and grace. Big Zach had a booming voice and a great sense of humor; I feel some of that when I sip his namesake wine. Richness and ripe tannins, rounded by 18 months in a barrel, frame nuanced aromatics and layered flavors." – Tayloe Dameron, owner and proprietor
"The Zachariah. . . was one to write home about. An amazing nose was followed by layers of complexity, structured tannins and a finish that went on and on. It was my favorite in a lineup that contained nothing but great wines."– The Virginia Grape
You might call our Petit Verdot our first born. It was our first ever estate harvest, and didn't come to be without a few pre-harvest scares to keep us grounded. In the winter of 2016, we had to hover helicopters over the vines to prevent them from freezing during a particularly challenging cold stretch. The care paid off. Our Petit Verdot berries yielded a dark fruit nose, plum mid-palate and a food ready, bold tannic finish to the wine – turns our we're pretty good at raising well-rounded grapes. 19 months in barrel, true to varietal and eminently agreeable.