Ever been to a ewe shearing? Walked among free-range chickens? Well, EWE don't know what you're missing! Visit Wisteria Farm and Vineyard and get the full farm experience while you're sipping some delicious wines.

Located in Stanley, Virginia, Wisteria Farm and Vineyard features a unique winery experience. You can sip your wine while you watch sheep graze, pet roaming farm dogs, and dodge the free-roaming chickens and roosters as they peck the ground. Once every spring, you can also see a ewe shearing!

The Shearing

Sheep shearing might not seem like something to celebrate for the average Joe, but it's actually been the main event for feasts and festivals for thousands of years. You can bet that the Romney sheep owned by the farm, especially, are celebrating at this event. Springtime in Virginia can get pretty toasty! Known for their long, lustrous locks, the natural-colored Romney fleece is frequently among the most sought-after fleeces at shows and sales. Shearing is necessary at least once a year for the sheep, as their wool is always growing, and the ewes will be lambing in the spring, so it's the perfect time for them to shed wool. The wool is sheared in one huge piece, and because Romneys have such heavy locks, this usually equates to about 11 pounds of wool per ewe! Wisteria Farm and Vineyard owner Sue Ishak says she sends the wool out to a local fiber mill to spin it into yarn, which the winery later sells. The shearing usually takes place the second or third weekend in April--check the winery's Facebook page for updates! [gallery type="rectangular" ids="7524,7526,7525,7523"]

The Winery

The winery is nestled on the western slope of the Blue Ridge mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, very near Luray Caverns, at 1126 Marksville Road, Stanley, Virginia. It's open Thursday through Monday, 12-6 p.m. Wisteria Farm dates back to the 1890s, although owners Sue and Moussa Ishak are the first to grow grapes there. Their tasting room is an addition to the original farmhouse -- a quaint Victorian home. The Ishaks encourage guests to explore the whole property, including their nearby creek, a great draw for the kids. (My own three boys could be occupied for hours, just skipping rocks).
The farm follows sustainable agriculture practices, like selling the yarn and eggs produced there, and even their trellising is made from cedars grown on the property. All of Wisteria Farm and Vineyard's wines are 100 percent crafted from the grapes they grow, and there are 14 wines to choose from: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Traminette, Vidal, Seyval, Carmine, Petit Verdot, Norton, three semi-sweet blends (Velvet, Ashtaroot, and Adonis) and a dessert wine (Sweet Daisy). For $8 (a great price), the winery offers a tasting of eight wines, as well as a souvenir glass. Saturdays and Sundays, the winery has Under the Arbor music events, either outdoors or inside the tasting room. There is light fare available, like a variety of cheeses, but bring-your-own picnics are welcome and encouraged. There's a covered deck, a patio, and lots of shady spots in the yard under the trees to set up camp. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="7535,7534,7533,7531,7532"] So go on over to Wisteria Farm and Vineyard to get the full farm experience--let the kids entertain themselves with the farm animals while you get a little R&R! Have you already been to the winery? Know anything about sheep shearing that EWE want to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

You can stay in these tiny houses at Shenandoah National Park!