My husband and I have been wine tasting in Virginia since 2002 and over the years, we have come across good ones and not so good ones, and have seen different pricing among different regions and wine tasting fees increase over the years. So this was our experience:
1. There is a sign when you pull in saying no kids, no dogs. We came without our daughter but do bring her with us a lot so she can play outside with us sipping on our wine (away from the people there with no kids) and she is usually playing with other kids there. It is a slap in the face to read a sign saying we are not welcome if we bring our daughter or dog.
2. We get in the building and find there are two tasting rooms, one for whites and one for reds. So for us to taste together in the same room, we have to agree on red or white.
3. Tasting fee - $15.00... OK, not so terrible until you realize that the $15.00 is for only four wines (and if you want to taste both red and white wines - 8 total, you have to spend $30.00 each person for a tasting).
4. We only did the reds so I can't speak for the whites. Everyone's taste is different but we both only liked one of their reds... the one that is $20.00/glass or $79.00/bottle, it wasn't that good.
5. While tasting, we got to the third wine and the woman couldn't find a bottle of it so poured it out of a decanter that had very little in it. She poured mine first, then my husband, who ended up get way more than me (mine looked like residue at the bottom)... her solution? She takes his glass that pours some into my glass to even them out... so we both had a tiny taste. When we mentioned that the wine tasted very mild she tells us that the wine is bold so it must be from the decanter - "Who knows how long that wine has been in there." She did eventually have someone get a bottle for her to open and pour for us.
6. It was busy when we first got there but after the first wine we tried, the tasting room was clearing out with only two other couples left. We literally had 5-7 minutes between wines and not because she was so busy engaging with us... she poured, told us the name of the wine and went on to clean up behind the tasting bar for extended periods of time instead of making us feel comfortable.
The whole experience really ruined our view of Chateau O'Brien and we will not be recommending it to anyone. We have been to so many wineries in Virginia over the years and this one will be remembered as one of the worst.
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