A trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia brings to mind rollercoasters, rides, and beer, but add wine to your new idea of Busch Gardens. Originally part of the Anheuser-Busch corporation, the amusement park was built near the brewery and featured the famous Clydesdale horses. Now owned by SeaWorld Entertainment, a division of the Blackstone Group, changes have been made in rides and park layout, but the best improvement for wine drinkers is the availability of wine tastings in the park.
On any day at Busch Gardens, you have the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of at least four different wines at multiple locations. The wine tasting costs an additional $14.95 at the time of tasting and includes a souvenir wine glass in which to savor your wine. The first stop on your journey through Busch Gardens should be made in France. The La Belle Maison area gift shop featured four wines and a very knowledgeable server, Nora Francis.
She will take you through a tasting of wines starting at $19.95 per bottle and provide you with an informative tasting. One of the featured wines was a Georges Dubœuf, 2011 Beaujolais-Villages red wine. This is considered the number one selling brand of Beaujolais in the world. Outside of Busch Gardens you can find this highly rated wine for just under $20 per bottle and only slightly higher if purchased in Busch Garden’s France location.
As you travel through Busch Gardens and weave your way from France to Germany, you will end up at a tasting bar where Paul will gladly pour from a group of four sparkling wines from France, Italy, and Austria. One of the four wines in this tasting was vinted from Austria’s Schlumberger Wine Cellars, the White Secco. This was a tasty blend of Welschriesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc.
A bit disappointing that the Riesling was not on the tasting, but you could buy a glass of Riesling for $8.95. In getting a wine education from Paul, he also suggested the Nürnberger Markt Glühwein, which is a great wine for cold weather and served warm.
From Germany, you can wind your way through Busch Garden’s version of Europe and find more wines in Italy. Once there, Amber offers five wines from Italy in her tasting, ranging from a Barone Fini Pinot Grigo to a sweet red wine by Ricossa.
A comparison of the tastings and quantity of wine consumed at each location, it seems that Nora in her French location pours more wine than the other areas. However, Amber and her Italian wine tasting pours wine for a mixture of tasters and keep a regular pace of people enjoying wines.
While Busch Gardens isn’t you normal wine venue, it is a short ride from the Richmond area, a fun day to spend with friends and family and a nice way to enjoy a selection of different wines. The only thing that would make these tastings better would be a lower price, particularly when paying such a hefty fee before you can enter the park to taste the wines.