Consider which wine to pair with oysters. Some say bubbly, some swear by Muscadet. At Virginia’s Chatham Vineyards, they’ve gone a step further and created an oyster-specific wine. Church Creek Steel-Fermented Chardonnay, named for the nearby creek where oysters are farmed, has the minerality, crisp acidity, and bright fruit to balance the briny bivalves. A marriage of aquaculture and agriculture, this alchemy in a glass has put Chatham and its Eastern Shore AVA on the map.
Like other Eastern Shore entrepreneurs, Chatham Vineyards is a family affair, run by charismatic owners Jon and Mills Wehner. Winemaker John produces European-style wines including the Vintner’s blend, a classic Bordeaux-style red, and a delicious late-harvest merlot. Chatham’s wines are expressive of the terroir; the soil, rich with ancient shells, has a high mineral content from a meteor that slammed into the Shore millions of years before.
Experience Chatham’s charm firsthand at their tasting room, which abuts the vineyard, a working farm, and the historic, brick home featured on their label. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April – December, and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays from January through March. Tasting fees are $3 per person.