Despite all the rain we’ve been getting the last few days, it is spring in Northern Virginia, and what better way to get out and enjoy it than visiting a local winery with friends?
Here in the Virginia Gateway, we’re lucky to live close to several picturesque, wonderful wineries. I always tell people at my wine tasting events – get out and try the local wines! Some are excellent, some are so-so, but Virginia is starting to fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s vision of becoming one of world’s leading wine regions. And the word is starting to get out – in 2012, Wine Spectator Magazine ranked Virginia one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world to visit (others in the top 10 included Italy, Spain, New Zealand and California).**
Below are four of my local favorites. They’re all within 20 minutes of my house in Piedmont and are a great place to learn about the region’s wines as well as enjoy a picnic outside with family and friends.
The Winery at La Grange – Haymarket – open 7 days a week
What better place to start your local wine journey than right here in Prince William County? I love that I can get to La Grange in 10 minutes, but feel like I’m already a world away from suburbia. What will you find here? Beautiful views of rolling hills, a manor house dating back to c. 1790, and even a ghost! That’s right – La Grange is haunted by a friendly ghost by the name of Benoni. My daughters are convinced they’ve seen him more than once.
My personal favorite wines here: Fletcher’s Chardonnay (a Burgundy-style Chardonnay), Meritage*** (red blend using Bordeaux varietals), and Snort (port-style wine). Yum. Pack a picnic or buy some snacks there and take the whole family – La Grange is kid-friendly, and you’ll even find some toys on hand.
Pearmund Cellars – Broad Run – open 7 days a week
Pearmund Cellars was the first local winery I visited when I moved to Gainesville eight years ago from Fairfax County, and it’s still one of my favorites. Located in Broad Run between Gainesville and Warrenton, it’s a quick trip from the Gainesville/Haymarket area. One of the first things I noticed on my initial visit was there were roses growing at the end of every row of vines. When I mentioned to a member of the friendly staff how beautiful they were, she said “we have them out there so the pests will eat the roses instead of the grapes.” Functional as well as beautiful.
Pearmund Cellars is another kiddo-friendly spot where you can spend a few hours with the entire family. They’ve got some snacks on hand for sale as well. Make sure to take a spin through the barrel room located right off the tasting room – you’ll see on hand winemaker Chris Pearmund’s collection of rare, unique and prized wines.
My personal favorite wines here: Viognier (every vintage I’ve had has been excellent) and the Ameritage Reserve.
Barrel Oak Winery – Delaplane – closed on Tuesdays
Just 20 minutes west of Gainesville, you’ll find Barrel Oak Winery (BOW) off Route 55 in Delaplane. Once you turn into the property, you’ll head up a hill to the tasting room/winery and get some of the most scenic views in Virginia. Picnic tables dot the landscape, and you’ll probably see lots of people at play with their children and dogs – both of which are always welcome at BOW. Set foot inside the tasting room and immediately you’ll see that for proprietors Brian and Sharon Roeder, Barrel Oak Winery is a labor of love. Friendly staff, lots of fun wine swag and some lovely wines are what you’ll find here. For the self-proclaimed wine aficionado, make sure to stop by the Oak Hill Estate located on the property before departing BOW. Excellent wines from the world over are poured there alongside the best of Virginia. It’s definitely a unique tasting experience.
My favorite wines at Barrel Oak: Viognier, and the Chocolate Lab (dessert wine). It’s a port-style wine with luscious chocolate undertones, and the name plays on the dog-friendly site that is the essence of BOW.
Quattro Goombas – Aldie – open Thursday evenings, Friday-Sunday
Heading north on US 15 towards Leesburg, you could easily pass by Quattro Goombas. That would be a shame. Meaning “four friends”, Quattro Goombas is a family and pet-friendly winery where you’ll immediately feel at home. They craft wines in the Mediterranean style and bring the best of Italy, Chile and California to Virginia. There’s no need to pack your lunch here. Instead, make sure to hit the Quattro Pizza Shop inside the winery for pizza unlike anything else in the area. It’s sold by the slice, along with homemade breadsticks served with marinara, baguettes, artisan cheeses and olive oil.
My favorites at Quattro Goombas: Tradizione is a truly unique wine aged in bourbon barrels and Frappe Vino slushies – it’s an adult version of a slurpee.
So head out to one of our local wineries, bring the family and enjoy the spring!
Then, give me a call and let’s schedule your casual and classy in-home wine tasting for the best wines from around the world.
Eryn Cadoff is an Independent Wine Educator for Vino Virtuoso and conducts in-home wine tastings throughout Northern Virginia and the District. She can be reached at 703-786-1694 or email@example.com. She’d love to help you put together an event for your friends and family – in your family room, or on your patio/poolside. Follow her adventures in wine at http://www.facebook.com/WinewithEryn.
**read more at: http://pearmundcellars.com/we_artcl.htm
***Meritage (rhymes with heritage) wines are a blend of Bordeaux varietal grapes. For a wine to be labeled a Meritage, the winery must be a member of the Meritage Alliance. Learn more about these wines at: http://meritagealliance.com/
© 2013, Stacy Shaw. All rights reserved.
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