In the shadow of Old Rag Mountain and nestled firmly in White Oak Canyon lies DuCard – a storied vineyard that found its success almost by accident.

So the story goes: grapes grown at DuCard were originally sold to a nearby winery. Later, the wines produced from those first few crops of DuCard grapes went on to win numerous awards, including the coveted Virginia Governor’s Cup for best wine in the state.

From auspicious but humble beginnings, DuCard began to produce wine under its own label. While critically successful, the first few batches were small in quantity and therefore exclusive. Only a few friends, neighbors and a growing list of fans were able to get their hands on a bottle.

With demand, production eventually grew – culminating in Ducard’s opening of a tasting room to the public. The architecturally renowned site was built to suit the sweeping vistas, offering visitors unimpeded views of the mountains. While outside the tasting room, a shaded patio overlooks a fresh mountain stream that leads out into a field of grapes, inside vaulted ceilings and cathedral windows face out on to Shenandoah National Park. A roaring fireplace in the tasting room and comfy chairs are just the things to stave off a chill on cold, rainy nights.

Situated on the site of an old apple orchard, DuCard has recently been named the greenest winery in Virginia. The owners of the vineyard believe in sustainable practices and use recycled or reclaimed items whenever possible. The flooring and the bar of the tasting room, for example, are made from local hardwoods, including 100-year-old oak boards harvested from barns on the property.

DuCard sits on just 7 acres at an elevation of 1,000 feet on a picturesque hillside, the perfect conditions for growing French vinifera and other native Virginia varietals. The grapes grown here reflect the rocky soils and rugged landscape of Madison County, Va., yielding wines of unique character and complexity.

A highlight of the social calendar, DuCard’s Oyster Festival on Saturday, April 27th is sure to attract oyster enthusiasts from far and wide. Shuckers, bushels and oystermen from Nomini Bay Oyster Ranch will be on site, serving up all manner of oyster, including steamed and of course oyster on the half shell. Crabcakes and related delicious offerings will also be available.

As an insider tip, if you are looking for a wine to go with your feast, consider DuCard’s Signature Viognier or Gibson Hollow White. Both pair exceedingly well with seafood.

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