Fall for Virginia Wine
October is a month of many things, beginning of Fall, breast cancer awareness month, Halloween! and even Virginia Wine Month! With many notable wineries in our backyard, it’s a great time to celebrate this up and coming wine region. Virginia is gaining ground in the wine world as producing well-crafted wines with gorgeous wineries and views.
What better way to celebrate Virginia Wine Month than to take a trip there during the fall season; leaves are changing, the smell of crisp mountain air, maybe even some hiking! The mountains of Virginia are a great getaway from the bustling city. Within an hour or two, you can escape it all, relax and enjoy a great bottle of wine with friends or a loved one.
There are two routes you can go when leaving DC, south towards Charlottesville or directly west towards Loudoun. I’ve mentioned before some great wineries in Fauquier and Loudoun Counties but there are many more to discover with fantastic views of the changing foliage.
Head West on Route 267 and arrive at Bluemont Vineyards. The view here is spectacular! Situated on the hillside of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bluemont is elevated 1,000 feet! Sit back, sip some wine and take in the views from their tasting room. No need to worry about the chilly weather, the tasting room has a great view and still enclosed.
The wines are labeled as farm animals, The Goat, The Cow, The Ram, etc. The grapes are mostly grown on site and they do sell a lot of fruity wines such as peach, strawberry and blackberry. Some of their popular wines include the Virginia grapes Viognier, Norton and Cabernet Franc. Not interested in an entire bottle? Don’t worry they sell by the glass too. Also for sale are food items like cheese plates, dips, breads, and even chocolates!
Another great option out that way is Loudoun Valley Vineyards. A large property in the middle of the rolling hills provides a great atmosphere during the Fall months. Take it all in right from the tasting room. Enjoy the live music hosted on weekends and/or light snacks from the restaurant. Yes a restaurant, not just a cheese plate, the menu changes but they offer items like eggrolls, sliders and more. During the winter months (starting at the end of November), Loudoun Valley Vineyards hosts Soup Saturdays with a different soup on the menu everyday. Check it out!
They produce quite a few wines including a Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, red blends and more. You can’t go wrong with the Cabernet Franc or a blend while enjoying the peaceful views from the tasting room and maybe even paired with a bowl of soup! Now that’s my kind of Saturday.
If heading West on 66 is more your style, there’s great options there too. Perfect for the Fall season, Stribling Orchard is a open and ready for you to pick your own apples! Just a mile down the road from these wineries. It makes for a perfect Fall afternoon just an hour or so from the city. Chateau O’Brien is right off 66 in Markham, VA. Here is another panoramic view of the mountains and foliage from the tasting room. It is spacious indoors with 3 tasting bars! They also have a fireplace room for those chilly afternoons. They have quite the wine selection as well, offering 3 white wines, 8 reds and 2 dessert wines. They also grow 12 vinifera grapes in the vineyard. The Cellar Collection wines including the Syrah and Cabernet Franc are rather expensive and not available for tasting. They do have 2 great red blends, Buddy’s Bistro Red & Padlock Red, that are easily drinkable on its own, perfect for sitting by the fire.
There are two tasting options here, the classic or the reserve, 6 or 12 wines respectively. If you’re like me, you always opt for more wine! The full tasting consists of 4 whites, a rosé, 5 reds and a dessert wine. While tasting the wines, you are facing a great view of the vines and the mountainside. Some favorites are the Chardonny, which was actually poured at a State Dinner, the Cabernet Franc and the award-winning Scarlot Oak Red blend of Mouvédre and Tannat.
Celebrate Virginia Wine Month and the new season by taking a stroll to visit local wineries. The views, the wines, the atmosphere can’t be beat. Drink local. Cheers!
Jessica has completed the world renown wine certification, Wine & Spirit Education Trust out of London and is the editor/author of One Classic Wino, a blog about her adventures as a “wino”. Check out Jess’s blog daily for wine pairings, recommendations for the season, and fun recaps of all of her (many) wine adventures!
In addition, she founded Young Winos of DC in August 2010, a group of 20-somethings that convene monthly to share good times and learn about wine.