Wine Tasting Info & FAQ
Wine Taster Admission tickets include tastings of South African & Grayhaven wines plus tastings of the special festival Sangrias (Lychee and Mango among them.) Visitors may also purchase wines by-the-glass and open bottles to enjoy at the festival. All adult (21 and over) ticket holders (including adult General Admission ticket holders) may purchase closed bottles of wine to take home. Discounts are available for case purchases - mix & match cases receive the discount too.
What is the VIP tasting, who’s invited? The Cellar VIP Tasting is where we sample and sell higher end wines, some retailing for over $40 a bottle. Passes are given to members of the press, South African embassy employees, etc. We are also happy to offer passes to festival guests who show a genuine enthusiasm for South African wines - here’s how it works: Purchase $75 or more of wine (South African and/or Grayhaven) under the main wine tasting tent and you’ll receive two passes to taste in the VIP cellar. Can I purchase any of the VIP wines to take home if I don’t get VIP passes to taste?Yes! You may purchase VIP wines by the bottle to enjoy at the festival or to take home, you just won’t be able to taste them first. We would be happy to show you the tasting notes and help you select a wine that you’ll love - just go to the winery tasting room and ask. I purchased $50 of wine under the main tent and another $30 of wine from the tasting room - can I get VIP passes? Yes, just show your receipts to someone inside the winery tasting room and they will gladly give you the passes. I want to enjoy the entertainment with a bottle of wine and do my tasting later. Can I just buy a bottle? Yes! Find the wine area check-out stations or visit the winery tasting room. Our staff will make a recommendation based on your tastes and will be happy to sell you wines by the glass or opened bottle. Last year I came on Sunday at noon and you had sold out of several wines completely, by early afternoon there was no Pinotage at all. Why didn’t you order more wine? Our team works very hard to calculate and project and get just the right amount of each of the wines we order. Sometimes we order too much of a particular wine, sometimes not enough. What can you do to help? Order your tickets early! That helps us plan all the details including the size of our wine order.
Will the wines be available after the festival? Yes & no... Grayhaven will continue to sell any remaining stock of South African wines (if any) in the tasting room after the festival. Additionally, customers may place 1/2 case and full case orders of South African wine from Grayhaven throughout the year. Grayhaven wines are available year round from the tasting room, at a few local wine festivals and Farmers Markets and can be shipped to adults 21 and over in the state of Virginia. Grayhaven wines are not available in stores or restaurants at this time and we do not ship out-of-state.. Our best advice: If you like it, buy it at the festival! Some of the South African wines we offer at the festival may not be around the next week....anywhere. We may have purchased the last of a vintage or the entire lot of a limited release as a special treat for our festival guests. Grayhaven wines are always produced in small batches and sell out quickly. Individual releases are rarely available for more than a few weeks.
How much wine will I get with my ticket? You will get a sample ‘tasting’ of each of the wines and sangrias served in the wine tent. All wines will be available for purchase by the glass, by the open bottle or by the closed bottle/case to take home.
Our wine tasting crew is trained to pour you a small tasting, there should be enough in your glass to smell and taste the sample of wine. There are a lot of wines to try, the sample should be less than 1/2 ounce each.
If you are not sure about something, you may ask to re-taste a wine. There are always a handful of people, and you know who you are, who like to taste their way through the day without purchasing a glass or bottle of wine. We’re not sure what to say about this other than ‘please don’t’ and don’t be surprised if our staff stops serving you at some point. Wines by the glass are reasonably priced and are in most cases less than what you would pay for the same wine at a restaurant.
My husband does not drink wine, is it ok to bring beer if he keeps it in a brown paper bag? No. Bringing outside alcohol of any kind, concealed or otherwise, is a serious violation of our ABC license. Our staff will check incoming coolers to ensure we comply with ABC regulations. As with all festivals this size, ABC agents are also likely to be in attendance.
My son is 18, can he taste wine with me since I’m his parent? Nooooo. This can be confusing because of VA laws. We confess we know very little about the 18 year old w/ Parent law but we know this for sure - that law does not apply to public property and does not apply to any property, such as Grayhaven, which holds an ABC license. As far as we understand it, the law is meant to protect parents who choose to let their 19-20 year old have a sip of wine or beer in their presence at their own house.
Other wine festivals let me purchase a general admission ticket and drink wine out of my friend’s glass or a glass I bring myself - is this ok? I don’t need to taste all the wines, I don’t need the souvenir glass and I’m over 21.We understand that there are a few festivals in Virginia that do things that way, however Grayhaven, like many wineries, ask that if you are 21 and older and plan to drink, please purchase the General Admission + Wine Tasting ticket. Wine tasters/drinkers have their id’s checked at the front gate and are given a different colored wrist band from General Admission ticket holders. ABC agents who routinely inspect wine festivals, as well as our staff, are looking to see that everyone who is drinking alcohol has on the wine taster wrist band. Please purchase the appropriate ticket if you plan to drink.
We care about your safety!
We encourage all of our guests to arrange for a designated driver. Designated drivers who are 21 and older can still purchase closed bottles of wine to take home - they’ll just have to take your word for it when it comes to which wine to buy. Designated Drivers should purchase the General Admission ticket.
Please remember that when it’s hot outside, two glasses of wine might hit you like four. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, grab some good eats and get up and walk around from time to time. Our staff is more concerned about your safety than selling you another bottle of wine, they will not serve or sell wine to anyone who appears to have had too much to drink.