THE INN AT STINSON VINEYARDS IN CROZET IS AN ELEGANT, OFF-THE-BEATEN PATH GETAWAY FOR FOODIES AND WINE LOVERS LOOKING TO UNPLUG AND UNWIND
When the winding roads and rolling hills around Crozet, Virginia deposit you on the doorstep of the Inn at Stinson Vineyards, you might not be sure you’ve found the right spot. With its front door painted a cheery turquoise, the modest exterior of this renovated home, once occupied by a member of the Stinson family, belies the real “wow” factor waiting inside.
From the moment you step in, you are drawn through a light-filled foyer and dining room with vaulted ceilings—to a set of glass doors with transom windows that form a cathedral-style panoramic view of grapevines cascading downhill against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In the heart of Virginia wine country, less than 20 miles from Charlottesville, this is a don’t-miss that’s off the beaten path.
That “aaaaaah” feeling is meant to last throughout your stay at this intimate, four-bedroom mountain getaway—opened in 2018 and accommodating up to nine guests—a bespoke experience from breakfast until bedtime for wine-lovers and foodies and anyone who wants to unwind and unplug. That’s all by design, says innkeeper and general manager Stephanie Campbell.
“It’s a place that allows people to come and truly escape and take a deep breath in a way,” Campbell explains. “It’s not fast-paced. There are not a lot of activities. It’s a time to indulge, to sit around on the screened-in porch and enjoy a glass of sauvignon blanc. It’s a getaway, a little slice of paradise for rejuvenation.”
The small-batch, family-owned estate winery’s own 2019 sauvignon blanc, fermented in concrete and stainless steel, boasts tasting notes of “stone fruit and Meyer lemon zest” and “fresh boxwood and a wet stone minerality.” Wine flights are available in the Inn’s cellar and next door at the winery tasting room as are bottles for purchase. Stinson Vineyards is co-owned by Scott Stinson and his daughter Rachel Stinson Vrooman and takes inspiration from the “garagiste” wineries of France.
At the Inn, each morning begins with an elegant, full-service, three-course breakfast—served inside or on the back deck overlooking the seasonal, heated pool and that stunning view—incorporating local ingredients and produce from the Inn’s garden. Their “build-your-own” parfait with house yogurt, homemade granola and fresh fruit is a guest favorite. The main course is a chef’s-choice hot breakfast. One morning it may be a lovely tartine with soft-scrambled Japanese-style eggs, house-cured salmon, pickled red onion and fresh dill. On the next, a petite crustless quiche with fresh veggies a delightfully creamy custard texture.
While breakfast is included with your stay, dinners at the Inn are optional. But if you miss the opportunity to indulge in the culinary craft of Virginia-native, in-house Chef Tyler Teass—who was part of the team that earned D.C.’s Rose Luxury its Michelin Star rating in 2016 and later helped open Brasserie Saison on Charlottesville’s historic downtown mall—you have missed out indeed.
During our visit, we were treated to an exquisite four-course, wine-paired meal designed by Chef Teass, which was preceded by an amuse-bouche—crème fraiche with white peaches and purple basil served with light, crispy cheese wafers—and the most delicate miniature sourdough waffles with local pork fat, sea salt and confectioners’ sugar, a mind-blowing, melt-in-your-mouth sweet-savory combo.
The courses included a celery root velouté with caviar, crispy potatoes and herbs (paired with the 2019 sauvignon blanc); a perfectly portioned twist of spaghetti with crab, basil pistou and breadcrumbs (paired with the 2020 Sugar Hollow White); roasted Roseda Farm beef, mushroom croquette, braised beans and herb jus (paired with the 2017 Meritage); and, for dessert, popcorn pudding with crème fraiche, lime and sorghum (paired with the 2018 petit manseng).
The Wine Cellar dinners run $150 per person—incredibly reasonable for the quality of food and level of service, but the Inn has also started offering a more casual dinner option called Chef’s Suppers, “featuring an array of seasonally driven plates meant to share” and sample alongside a variety of wines.
The rooms and shared spaces at the Inn are the epitome of clean, cozy minimalism accentuated by touches of rustic charm. No detail is left unthought of for guest convenience and comfort. Room rates start at around $200 per night, or you can rent the entire Inn starting at approximately $1,000 per night.
While you’re in and near Crozet, don’t miss small-town must-stops such as Crozet Pizza, Starr Hill Brewery, the Rockfish Gap Country Store and the Claudius Crozet Bridge Tunnel, a historic landmark recently re-opened to hikers and cyclists. And, of course there is a plethora of other wineries to visit nearby including King Family Vineyards, well-known not only for its pastoral landscape but also for its horses and polo matches.
Learn more at InnatStinsonVineyards.com.
Photos: Leona Baker, Lisa Davenport, Audra Jones Photography, Bekah Imagery or Courtesy of Inn at Stinson Vineyards