Wine Blogging Wednesday #50 Which wine, which wilderness?

Russ the Winehiker is our host for the 50th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the monthly wine blogger tasting event created by Lenn Thompson of LENNDEVOURS wine blog. Russ asks us which wine we would choose to enjoy in the outdoors and also to share a favorite hike that you like to go in at this beautiful time of year. You get bonus points for sharing the hike and information about it, picking a locally produced wine and extra bonus points for actually going on the hike and enjoying the wine at the end of the day.
Picking my favorite hike in Virginia was an easy one, as I did this hike the first time when I was 9 years old. Old Rag Mountain is located in the Shenandoah National Park about 10 miles from Sperryville Virginia and is billed as one of the tougher hikes the area has to offer. Roundtrip the hike is approximately 8.6 miles with an elevation gain of 2510 feet. The hike offers everything from wooded steep trails to sketchy rock scrambles to gravelly fire road, a bit of something for everyone.

Info on the hike from



From the upper Old Rag parking area turn left uphill on the blue blazed Ridge Trail next to the closed gate. (If you parked in the 200 car overflow lot on SR600/Nethers Rd. walk 0.5 miles up SR600 where it veers left and in another 0.4 miles ends at the Old Rag parking area). The trail will gradually increase in grade and make nine switch backs before reaching the first of many view points in 1.9 miles. From the first vista point to the west, the Ridge Trail will become more rocky before reaching the main easterly vista on the ridge in another 0.2 miles.

NOTE: From this point to the summit in 0.9 miles, the trail becomes a rock scramble with narrow passages, and several spots requiring hand over hand climbing.

From the easterly vista on the ridge start up the rock scramble, with the first obstacle a 12ft deep small crack in the rock. Climb to the bottom and follow it out to the left. Continue following the blue blazes passing around to the easterly side of the ridge and through another crack where the trail meets a small cliff. From here, the trail will become increasingly steep going through a small cave, before reaching the minor summit where the trail turns left. Be careful to follow the blue blazes, as there are several false trails that lead to overlooks.

After passing around the minor northerly summit, the trail becomes less steep, but still requires rock-hopping for most of the remaining 0.3 miles to the true summit, where there are several points with 360° views.

Continue south along the Ridge Trail now descending for 0.3 miles to the junction of the Saddle Trail and Byrd’s Nest Shelter. Turn right descending on the blue blazed Saddle Trail, then in 0.6 miles pass the Old Rag Shelter. Both shelters are available for day use only. From the Old Rag Shelter the trail widens and follows a forestry road for the 0.4 miles to the intersection of the Berry Hollow Fire road (left), Old Rag Fire Road (straight), and Weakley Hollow Fire Road (right).

Turn right downhill on the yellow blazed Weakley Hollow Fire Road. In 1.2 miles pass the Robertson Mountain Trail, and in another 200 yards the Corbin Hollow Trail. Continue along the Weakley Hollow Fire Road the remaining 0.8 miles back to the upper parking area.

This past Saturday the weather was perfect, mid 70’s, clear blue skies and lower than normal humidity, a great day to make the trek up Old Rag. It has been a couple of years since I had hiked it so I was really looking forward to it. On the journey with me that day were my wife, my sister and her husband/my best friend, all ready for the adventure. We got there a bit late (9:30) so the upper lot was already full as it only holds 9 cars and parked in the lower lot adding about 1.6 miles roundtrip to the hike. The hike was fantastic although at the tough sections there were some bottle necks of people as they tried to maneuver the tricky rock scrambles, all in all it was a great day that brought back tons of memories. Check out the below pics from the hike, they capture the day better than my words.

Megan at the start of the hike

Megan at the start of the hike

John 2/3 of the way to the summit

John 2/3 of the way to the summit

View of the rocky summit

View of the rocky summit

View looking West

View looking West

Jeff spies something..don't get too close to the edge!

Jeff spies something..don

watch out for falling rocks

watch out for falling rocks

The Sign to the summit

The Sign at the summit

On the small 1 lane road that leads to and from the parking area for the trail head and parallels the Hughs River there is a small Virginia Winery called Sharp Rock Vineyards. Megan and I have been to Sharp Rock before, about 2 years ago, and were in need of a return visit. After we unloaded our packs and wiped off some of the grime, we meandered the mile or so from the trailhead and crossed over the river to Sharp Rock’s tasting room. Sharp Rocks tasting room is a converted old barn with the tasting room located above the barrel and tank rooms. It was a beautiful day, so the patio was full of people enjoying the vineyard views and surrounding mountains, as well as the wine.

After our tasting we decided that the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc would be perfect to quench our thirst after a hard four and a half hours of hiking.

My Tasting Notes

Nose – citrus, cut grass, lemon zest

Taste – tangerine, grapefruit, citrus, good stony minerality

Mouthfeel – crisp, light body with decent acidity

Finish – medium in length, very clean and dry

We shared this bottle on their back porch as we overlooked the vineyards and mountains, talking about how sore we might be the next day. There is nothing better than be exhausted after a great hike and enjoying some nice wine in a great setting with family and friends.

Thanks Russ for a great WBW selection! I think I get the gazillion point award for this post. haha


Categories: $10-$20, virginia wine, Wine Blogging Wednesday, wine tasting | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Post navigation

4 thoughts on “Wine Blogging Wednesday #50 Which wine, which wilderness?

  1. Really fine write-up, John! I can clearly see that you and I gotta hit the winehiking trail sometime. Definitely a gazillion points, my man!

    Thanks for participating in WBW50!


  2. vcuspoon

    Hey Russ
    Sounds like a plan man! Hiking and Wine, a great combintation indeed!

    See you in 2 weeks.

  3. Oh you really did it! Awesome!! Nice pics too! 🙂

  4. Warren

    What a way to end a nice hike! We’ve not visited Sharp Rock but sounds like we need to pay them a visit. I also like your write up about increased recognition of Virginia wine—glad to see that Virginia wines are making a splash!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s