Kayak to an Eastern Shore Winery

© by Bill & Mary Burnham

Kayak to Chatham Vineyard

Flex your muscles and your wine palate on Virginia's only kayak winery tour. Bald eagles and osprey are common sightings as you paddle Church Creek to Chatham Vineyard for a tour and tasting on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

The guided kayak tour, offered exclusively by SouthEast Expeditions, leads 45 minutes to Chatham Vineyard. In spring, there's a rare Great Blue Heron rookery along the way; bald eagle and osprey sightings are common year-round.

As Chatham, the 1818 brick mansion, comes into view, we land on a small beach ringed by towering loblolly pine.

Vineyard owners Jon & Mills Wehner

We walk through the vineyard to the winery for a tasting of Chatham's award-winning varieties. The owner, Jon Wehner, often greets paddlers himself, giving them a behind-the-scenes tour of the wine-making operation and a brief history of the family-owned farm.

The relatively new vineyard is located on a 400-year-old Colonial-era plantation, named for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham and friend of the American Colonies.

Enjoy a bottle of Steel Chardonnay or Viognier with a plate of cheese, sitting at a café table overlooking the rows of vineyards. Chatham wine-tasting

But don't imbibe too much, we've still got to paddle back, and if there's time, stop on an uninhabited island for some historic narrative about John Smith and local Indians.

Where to eat: Machipongo Trading Company will prepare a paddler's lunch: a durable sandwich packed in compostable 'green' containers. They also roast fresh jumbo Virginia peanuts and fair-trade coffee with names like Hog Island Sunrise and Chincoteague Sunset.

Paddle with the Authors

Mary and Bill Burnham

Bill and Mary Burnham often lead the kayak winery trips for SouthEast Expeditions.

The cost of $85 per person includes the winery tour and tasting, a bottle of your favorite wine for each couple, as well as all of your paddling gear and instruction.

Sunset, two-hour, half and full-day trips to barrier islands also available. Call (757) 331-2680 to book this unique paddling experience.