Camp for Grown-Ups

Wine glasses replace canteens and amuse bouches stand in for s’mores.

Philip Carter Winery, as seen through the vineyards.

Who can forget summer camp? Fun-filled days of planned activities. Evenings around crackling fires. Hearty meals with friends from far-flung places. Wouldn’t you like to go back? But instead of hiking, you’re driven from winery to winery, tasting the best of what each has to offer. Maybe, instead of learning how to spot poison sumac, you learn the art of stemware, and rather than crowd around a plank table, suppose you sit down to a place setting that portends a multi-course meal prepared by a personal chef. And don’t worry about climbing into a bunk bed; just a flight of stairs to the plushest of accommodations. That’s how Philip Carter Strother has designed his Vintage Piedmont Wine Camp in Hume.

So what does Strother, a Richmond lawyer, know about wine? Lots. One of Strother’s forbears started Philip Carter Winery in the 1760s, which Strother revived in 2008. Strother was so diligent about producing quality wine that, four years later, England’s Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts Manufactures & Commerce confirmed him as a fellow. Just last September, he opened the Inn at Vineyards Crossing (part of which dates to 1787), where his grown-up camp begins and ends.

Now there’s nothing that says you can’t book a room at the Inn and make a self-styled weekend visiting all the nearby wineries. But you’d miss out on an amazing value that includes a Friday night wine tasting, replete with hors d’oeuvres, gourmet breakfasts by the Inn’s Chef Josh Haugh, visits to nearby wineries where the vintners themselves illuminate tastings with topics like blending wines and harvest parameters, and a five-course dinner with pairings on Saturday. You have to make time to appreciate the king size beds, luxe linens and en suite rooms that include modern amenities like a spa tub, WiFi and satellite TV.

Duties rotate among the wineries and topics, like vineyard management and the science of smell, change with each session, so you can come back without repeating the experience.

Best of all, you don’t have to make your bed.

$600 per person for 3-day/2-night package.

Future Wine Camp dates: May 30-June 1, July 11-13, Aug. 1-3, Sept. 5-7, Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 12-14.

Participating wineries:,,,

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