Check out these 15 Smith Mountain Lake wineries, breweries and distilleries
Smith Mountain Lake is famous for its clear waters and gorgeous 500-mile shoreline, but did you know that the region also plays host to several wineries, breweries, and distilleries?
Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of south-central Virginia, the area’s natural beauty, mild climate, and fresh mountain spring water make it ideal for growing a wide range of grape cultivars and varieties as well as for brewing world-class beer.
The countryside and communities surrounding Smith Mountain Lake are dotted with fine vineyards and breweries. Locals, vacationers, and budding oenophiles looking to sample some of Virginia’s finest wines, brews, and liquors are spoiled for choice when it comes to spots to visit. Here are 15 of the best wineries, breweries, and distilleries that you can visit in and around the Smith Mountain Lake area.
- Ramulose Ridge Vineyards
3061 Hendricks Store Road, Moneta, VA
Ramulose Ridge Vineyards, just to the south of Moneta VA, serves fine wines paired with breathtaking hillside views.
The winery has a varied arsenal of offerings, ranging from white wines like their Chardonel (a dry, hybrid variety of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc), Vidal Blanc and Vioginier, reds like spicy Syrah and the ubiquitous Cabernet Franc, semi-sweets like Muscat and Tendril (a peach-accented white), to flavored Sweet Wine Sippers. Cigar aficionados will also want to sample the winery’s recommended cigar pairings for their white and red wines, available on site.
Ramulose Ridge’s outdoor patio makes for a fine venue to take in the view. There are also indoor and outdoor spaces for weddings, fundraisers, and other events. Interested parties can call Ramulose Ridge Vineyards at 540.314.2696 or visit their website for more information and tasting room reservations.
- Hickory Hill Vineyards and Winery
1722 Hickory Cove Lane, Moneta, VA
Hickory Hill Vineyards is the oldest winery in the Smith Mountain Lake area. It’s been managed by three generations of the Furrow family ever since it opened in 2001.
Hickory Hill Vineyards offers traditional wines and blends inspired by the natural beauty of Smith Mountain Lake’s verdant countryside. The winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a consistent prize-winner: a dry, French oak-aged red wine with black fruit notes, true to the old-world style of winemaking.
Contrasting with the traditional wines are more playful blends, like the Redbud, a semi-sweet dark rosé perfect for a summer afternoon, or the Sweet Red Sail, a sweet blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, best paired with blue cheese, figs, or chocolates.
Visitors can call 540.296.1393 or contact the winery through their website to book the picnic area as well as arrange for curbside pickup of wines. In the summertime, be sure to drop by for Hickory Hill’s Sunset Saturdays, a concert series with live performances, good food, good wine, and good company!
- Peaks of Otter Winery
1218 Elmos Road, Bedford, VA
An hour’s drive from Westlake Corner, Peaks of Otter Winery is a family-operated winery nestled in the same peaks that gave it its name.
Unlike grape vineyards, Peaks of Otter Winery is a fruit winery, offering 25 different varieties of wine primarily made from fruits grown in the farm’s orchard. Visitors can sample a medley of different wines made from blueberries, blackberries, and apples, to more exotic mixes such as the Chili Dawg, an apple and chili wine with a spicy bite.
In addition to their many fruit wine varieties, visitors to the Peaks of Otter Winery can sample fresh, seasonal fruits as well as jellies, jams and butters. Interested parties looking to book a tasting session can inquire through Peaks of Otter Winery’s website or call 540.586.3707.
- Brooks Mill Winery
6221 Brooks Mill Road, Wirtz, VA
Located just a few minutes away from Westlake Corner in Franklin County, Brooks Mill Winery is a small fruit farm and winery that makes award-winning fruit wines for all tastes and occasions.
Visitors can sample their sweet blackberry or blueberry wines, perfect for desserts, flavorful plum or peach wines ideal for any time of the day, or their sangria. For wine lovers who are looking for more traditional flavor patterns, try the dry pear wine (similar to a dry white) and the dry blackberry wine, your dry red alternative.
Drop by for their so-called wine tasting flights, where you can sample six wines for $5 in the tasting room or outdoors, picnic style. If you’re interested, call 540.721.5215, or contact Brooks Mill Winery through their website for more information.
- LeoGrande Vineyards and Winery
1343 Wingfield Drive, Goode, VA
Located half an hour’s drive from Smith Mountain Lake and just outside Bedford, LeoGrande Vineyard and Winery is one of six stops on the Bedford Wine Trail. Small and unassuming, LeoGrande Winery is ideal for oenophiles looking for a smaller, more intimate tasting experience.
LeoGrande specializes in Italian grape varietals but offers a rounded selection of wines so that there’s something for everyone. The winery produces reds such as the Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Syrah and Barbera, as well as a number of whites such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Visitors can drop by and sample LeoGrande’s wines in the tasting room or enjoy the scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains landscape from the winery’s outdoor verandah. If you’re interested in sampling LeoGrande’s Italian-style wines, call ahead at 540.586.4066 in order to schedule an afternoon visit.
- Valhalla Vineyards
6500 Mt. Chestnut Road #8108, Roanoke, VA
About an hour’s drive west from Smith Mountain Lake in nearby Roanoke sits Valhalla Vineyards, a scenic winery with a 2000-feet mountain top view overlooking the Roanoke Valley. Valhalla is the first vineyard outside of California to grow Alicante Bouschete, as well as one of the first vineyards to grow Syrah grapes in the state of Virginia.
Valhalla’s award-winning vintages, which are often featured in magazines like Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine, are crafted in the traditional French minimalist fashion. The wines are aged underground in the vineyard’s barrel cave, an underground facility beneath the vineyard itself. Their Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are popular favorites.
Valhalla holds regular tastings at their Cellar Door event space. They also offer winery and barrel cave tours. To learn more, call 540.725.9463 or email valhallava(at)aol(dotted)com.
- Altillo Vineyards & Winery
620 Level Run Road, Hurt, VA
A small, family-run vineyard and winery about half an hour’s drive east of Smith Mountain Lake, Altillo Vineyards & Winery specializes in small batch production of quality wines, like their award-winning rich dry Shiraz (2014 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition Gold) and their classic old-world style Chardonnay (2013 Governor’s Cup Silver).
Altillo might not be the largest vineyard and winery in the Smith Mountain Lake area, but its focus on small batch, artisanal production also means they’re open to custom crush, custom winemaking, and winery startup consulting. Get in touch with them if you’re interested in starting your own vineyard or winery in the region.
Visitors to Altillo Vineyards and Winery have the option to sample their wines in the comfort of the winery’s tasting room, by the fireside during colder months, outside on the spacious deck, or picnic-style on the winery’s grounds. The tasting fee is $10, credited towards purchase of your first bottle.
- The Homeplace Vineyard
568 Rigney Circle, Chatham, VA
A half hour’s drive southeast of Smith Mountain Lake will take you to The Homeplace Vineyard, located just outside Chatham in Pittsylvania County. It’s a family-owned and operated farm and winery with quality vintages that belie the winery’s size.
The Homeplace Vineyard has a selection of three different dry red wines: their Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and their award-winning Chambourcin, a spicy wine that pairs well with barbecues and Italian cuisine.
The winery’s dry white wines include a creamy Viognier, as well as a fruity Vidal Blanc. The Homeplace Vineyard also offers a selection of blended wines, as well as a standout sweet strawberry wine called the Cabin Sunset (another award winner).
Visitors interested in sampling Homeplace Vineyard’s wines should call 434.432.9463 or email thehomeplacevineyard(at)yahoo(dotted)com to arrange a reservation.
- Twin Creeks Brewing Company
111 South Pollard Street, Vinton, VA
On the way to Downtown Roanoke from Smith Mountain Lake, don’t forget to slake your thirst in Twin Creeks Brewing Company. It’s Roanoke County’s first craft micro-brewery, located in downtown Vinton.
Twin Creeks features a good range of brews and flavors, from classic standbys like the hoppy India pale ale (including a double-strength “All Hands on Deck” IPA at 10% ABV); the sweet Winter Night Milk Stout; an entire collection of lagers, brown ales, and stouts; and the occasional small batch of experimental brews like their Passion Fruit Gose-n-Over The Falls.
Visitors can sample Twin Creeks Brewery’s beers in the taproom alongside cuisine from a variety of nearby food trucks, as well as enjoy live music from local acts. If you’re taking a trip along the lakeside at Explore Park, you can also try out Twin Creeks’ brews at the Twin Creeks Brewpub, located at the historic Brugh Tavern. It has a full-service restaurant known for their gourmet burgers, outdoor firepits, a wine and cider bar, and outdoor music events.
- Franklin County Distilleries
25156 Virgil H. Goode Hwy, Boones Mill, VA
Nearby Boones Mill has earned the moniker of The Moonshine Capital of the World. It’s all thanks to the bootleggers that took advantage of the area’s clear mountain spring waters, hidden forest fastnesses, and the rail line running through town to move incredible amounts of liquor during Prohibition.
Franklin County Distilleries, located in Boones Mill, takes pride in Virginia’s moonshine tradition. It offers a series of distilled spirits inspired by the infamous bootleggers of the past. Visitors to FCD’s tasting room can sample some of the finest moonshine around, with flagship liquors like White Label Corn Whiskey, the smooth Rocky Mountain Rye, golden Roanoke Rum, apple brandy, grape brandy, 141 Black Label Rye, and the two-year aged FCD Maker’s Oak Reserve.
The newest addition to the tasting room is the Shot Bar, where adventurous visitors can mix different infused flavors with FCD’s corn whiskey or try a variety of liquors to decide which one is right for them. FCD’s bar and grill is open daily. You can call them at 540.334.1610 or email at info(at)fcdmoonshine(dotted)com.
- Hammer & Forge Brewing Company
70 Main Street, Boones Mill, VA
Another Boones Mill brewery to visit is Hammer & Forge Brewing Company. They focus on small-batch craft brews, creating artisanal experiences with their rotating roster of colorfully named beers on tap.
Blue Lakes is an easy-drinking blond ale inspired by the local landscape, while Dirty Myrtle is a punchy American Amber Ale with a strong backbone with wheat and chocolate notes. The Elder Mountain brew is an IPA that combines subtle malt flavors with an upfront hoppy flavor, while Romanov’s Return is a full-bodied Russian Imperial Stout with plenty of malt character.
In addition to their fine brews, Hammer & Forge regularly hosts community events, such as trivia nights and paint jams, so be on the lookout for happenings that might just be up your alley!
- Big Lick Brewing Company
409 Salem Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA
Located in the heart of Downtown Roanoke, Big Lick Brewing Company is billed as Roanoke’s first nanobrewery. They serve a range of small-batch creations as well as food from nearby restaurants and eateries.
Their Smith Mountain Lager takes its name from our lovely lake, and is a light, easy drinking American lager, while those looking for heartier brews might want to check out their Virginia Breakfast Stout, which has notes of Belgian chocolate, cacao nibs, Sumatran coffee, and a 7.5% ABV.
Visitors can sample Big Lick’s brews at their indoor taproom or choose to dine alfresco in their spacious outdoor dining and seating area. You can drink and dine on site or take your beer to-go with growler and crowler refills or in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.
If you’re taking a day trip around town, why not drop by the nearby Virginia Museum of Transportation as well? It’s located just behind the brewery.
- Atheling Meadworks
451 McClanahan Street SW, Roanoke, VA
For something different from your average brew, check out Atheling Meadworks, an award-winning craft meadery housed in the former Dr. Pepper bottling plant in Roanoke.
Named after the Old English word “atheling,” which means a lord or crown prince, Atheling Meadworks was inspired by its founder, Dr. Stephen Ausband’s love for the old English epic Beowulf. Translating that love into a fascination with brewing mead, Atheling Meadworks has since managed to create award-winning meads.
Shield Maiden, crafted with raspberry and blackberry honey aged in oak comes with a hint of sweetness and a complex mix of berry and floral flavors with an ABV of 18%. Meanwhile, Lyre’s Song, made from raspberry honey, is a traditional mead with a complex floral flavor with citrus and balsam undertones and an ABV of 13%. Both meads took silver medals in the 2020 National Honey Board’s Mead Crafter’s Competition.
Interested parties can contact Atheling Meadworks at 540.352.7175 or through their website.
- A Few Old Goats Brewing
515 8th Street SW #228, Roanoke, VA
A two-barrel nano-brewery in the west end of Downtown Roanoke, A Few Old Goats Brewing is a neat stop for anyone who’s looking to try out something new.
A Few Old Goats regularly rotates their beers on tap to match their latest craft brew creations. AFOG uses the staple India pale ale in a number of varieties like the Pillow Talk, a New England-style IPA, and the Dirty Pillow Talk, a stronger Imperial IPA. Other varieties include the Mock Bock, the Pour Decisions (a strong bitter beer), and the Clarence Gotz Wingz, a winter ale.
A Few Old Goats has a dog-friendly taproom and an outdoor area. Patrons can dine in or buy beers by the can or in 32-ounce growlers to take home. You can contact A Few Old Goats Brewing by phone at 540.339.9562, through email at afog(at)gmail(dotted)com, or through their website.
- Twin Creeks Distillery
510 Franklin Street Suite 508, Rocky Mount, VA
Located about a 20-minute drive west of Union Hall, Twin Creeks Distillery in Rocky Mount gives you Franklin County history distilled in a bottle.
The 1st Sugar Moonshine is a stout and smooth clear liquor that pairs well with anything while hitting home at 90-proof at 45% ABV. Twin Creeks also offers two white whiskies: the Sweet Mash Rye, a pure grain unaged whiskey with rye, corn, yeast and a bit of malt, resulting in a 90-proof sipping liquor, and the Copper Corn, a 100-proof pure corn, unaged whiskey made the traditional way in a copper still. In addition to the moonshine classics, Twin Creeks Distillery also features a series of fruit brandies made from local produce.
Twin Creeks Distillery has a tasting room that can be booked for private events. They also offer group tours. Interested parties can call 540.483.1266 or email info(at)twincreeksdistillery(dotted)com.
Fine wines and spirits are part of the luxury lifestyle in and around Smith Mountain Lake. Call me, Jane Horne, at 540.493.1690 or fill out this contact form to learn more about the community and make this wonderful place your home.