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The state grows grapes that rival California, proving Virginia is for wine lovers.
Virginia has established itself as a wine lover’s paradise, second only to the verdant hills of California for the variety and quality of its vineyards. Virginia wine country is a great destination for local residents looking for a fun weekend getaway or simply a taste of something fine.
Unsure which to choose? Try these three wineries for a good selection of fine wines offered in appealing settings and accompanied by enjoyable events.
Boxwood Estate Winery
Boxwood Estate Winery graces historic farmland in northern Virginia, but its reach extends throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Along with Tasting Room Wine Bar and Shop at the vineyard, Boxwood maintains wine bars in Reston, Chevy Chase and National Harbor. The 19-acre sustainable vineyard is notable for its environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art practices, including using the tightest planting on the East Coast. The wine is moved throughout the facility in stainless steel pipes to reduce the use of hoses and is aged in oak barrels made of wood from French forests situated in a dramatic circular cave.
Visitors can observe the entire winemaking operation from the tasting room, which is housed in a separate, stately building set between the chai, the bottling room and the cave. Wine is served with utmost purity and at a perfect temperature using special Enomatic wine-serving systems.
The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Barrel Oak Winery
Barrel Oak Winery offers a little more fun with its wines than some of its neighbors, billing itself as a place to “find fun in exploration, relaxation and conversation” amid the beautiful Piedmont countryside. While the 22-acre vineyard creates serious wine, it also serves as a lively venue for music and a host of other varied events.
Ranked as the top family-friendly winery by Wine Enthusiast, Barrel Oak greets children with juice boxes and encourages parents to sip wines at picnic tables while their kids run the grounds. Young visitors will also enjoy Barrel Oak’s notably dog-friendly atmosphere; even the winery’s website is focused around the establishment’s canines.
For a special treat, head to Barrel Oak for the John Marshall Tasting Experience at Oak Hill Estate, the historic home of Chief Justice John Marshall next door to the winery. The event pairs wines from Virginia and around the world with gourmet food samples.
Barrel Oak is open year-round from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in the summer.
Delaplane Cellars has been offering an authentic Virginian experience since the late 1990s. All of the wines here are made of native grapes, and the vineyard overlooks the Crooked Run Valley Rural Historic District. The building even reflects the location; the front doors and tasting bar are made from black walnut trees taken from the property during construction.
The artfully decorated tasting room and terrace boast gorgeous mountain views, making this an inspired place to sit and sip. The refined atmosphere hints at the seriousness with which the winemakers here approach their craft. However, they aren’t above letting their hair down—visitors can enjoy live music on Saturday and Sunday nights.
The wine itself gets rave reviews: “There was truly not a single wine here that I tasted that I did not care for,” noted one visitor. Guests who’d like to bring food to enjoy with their wine can dine at the picnic tables on the knoll behind the winery.
The tasting room is open from March to November; hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Monday and Thursday.