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“Paying to Work”
Review of Chateau O'Brien

Chateau O'Brien
Ranked #4 of 5 things to do in Markham
Attraction details
Reviewed 2 April 2018

Howard had an interesting business model - having customers pay to work bottling (in all its stages) his Tannat Rose. I did have fun, I did get a bottle to take home, and I do think it is going to be a killer wine: deep, dark, and rich!
Gorgeous copper accented and heated tasting pavillion with a killer view.

Thank Betty A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"apple wine"
in 10 reviews
"bold reds"
in 2 reviews
"classic tasting"
in 3 reviews
"private wine tasting"
in 2 reviews
"tasting menu"
in 2 reviews
"virginia winery"
in 2 reviews
"buy a bottle"
in 2 reviews
"cabernet franc"
in 2 reviews
"rainy day"
in 2 reviews
in 40 reviews
in 5 reviews
in 2 reviews

4 - 8 of 69 reviews

Reviewed 26 March 2018

Red wine is not done particularly well in Virginia but Chateau O'Brien is the exception, particularly for their high end wines. I also love their Apple Wine (white).

Thank MelissaPeery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2018

I was hesitant to stop here after reading other reviews, but I am glad I did. They offer two different tastings, or you can do both. Of course I had to do both! It's quite a long tasting, but they pair most of the wines with a little bite of cheese, fruit, chutney, etc, which I always appreciate. I've been to over 60 vineyards in VA, and this was the most fun tasting I have had yet! Joanne is incredibly knowledgeable about wine (both the vineyard's and in general), and she is clearly passionate about her job. She was fun to talk to throughout the tasting and I learned quite a bit. It is a little expensive as far as tastings go, but it also lasted about 90 minutes (rather than 15-20 like most tastings). I probably would have given this place a five, but the cheese plate I ordered after the tasting was rather disappointing. It was quite small, with mainly pungent cheeses, a few pieces of cured meat, and a few raspberries. I would have been much happier if there had been a cheddar, or something less strong, and a little more on the plate. The tasting had more food with it than the plate did! But that was the only negative here, and I'll certainly visit again when in the area.

1  Thank gibsongirl104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2017

The visit left a bad taste in our mouths - literally and figuratively. When you arrive there are signs telling you all the things you cant do, when you get inside the owner tells you all the things he can do or has done or about all his buddies in Napa/Sonoma (why not open your winery there?) Wines were overpriced for quality and he has an option to leave a tip (really? ) and he does not waive the tasting fee when you buy his very expensive wine. Do not recommend.

Thank S S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 October 2017

I often visit Virginia wineries with a group of friends, one of whom is a former owner. But we are usually unimpressed--many have gotten too commercial, too crowded, too overpriced for nondescript, low-quality wines... as was the case with the first that we visited in this area. We tried Chateau O'Brien on a whim, and I had low expectations as it was so close to the interstate. As soon as you pull into the very narrow, windy road you will see signs that say, "no one under 21," no pets," "no buses or limos..." The main building has a large, rather foreboding medieval-style metal door and upon entrance into a dark hall we saw that could choose between an $8 tasting in one room and a $15 reserve tasting. We went for the reserve and as one person joked, immediately felt like we were in a place where people were serious about wine. Howard the owner served us and was very talkative, telling us all about founding the winery, his travels, the topography of the region and the science of winemaking. What was remarkable was that all the wines (Cabernet Franc, Malbec, etc.) were 6-7 year vintages--clearly had not been rushed--and all reds, including a rare Tannat and late harvest Tannat. All the grapes are from the Chateau O'Brien properties. Most are made in extremely small batches (150-300 cases) and many were already sold out. We were amazed at the quality--I have never had a good red from Virginia, much less four. The prices are steep even by Va. wine standards but the quality is much, much better than the vast majority of Va. wineries. As it turns out the place is an old farmhouse renovated to look like an Irish tavern, with a huge deck and magnificent views. The location is beautiful and serene. This was pretty much the opposite experience of Barrel Oak or the larger wineries, not for everyone, but my group cannot wait to return.

Thank Jolysa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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