Drinking Locally – Our Favorite Northern Virginia Wineries

Back in 2008 when I moved to the nation’s capital I had no idea that wine country would be just a short car-ride from my door. (Politics and wine? That can’t be a healthy combination….)But it is true – Virginia is home to over 200 wineries (yep, 200!). Since living here and unpacking all of our many boxes we have started to venture out further and further into this wine country to see what it is really all about and do as many tastings as we can. Virginia has been voted as one of the 5 up and coming wine regions by Travel and Leisure magazine, and not surprisingly Virginia wines have been gaining international recognition.

Here is a recount of the wineries we have sampled to date, as our winery visits continue this spring and summer  I may have a Part 2 to this post (here’s to hoping so!)

Best Tasting:
Pearmund Cellars: This was an easy win. We were absolutely wowed by their tasting offerings. Their wines were fantastic (we purchased a case!) and the tasting gave us the chance to sample almost all of their options! Located in Warrenton, Virginia they are not too far from DC and one of the closer wineries. Overall the feel of the tasting room was busy but not too crowded that it was unenjoyable. We were able to have great conversation and learn a lot about the wines were sampling. It was a very pleasant experience and we have gone back since.

Most Unique:
Narmada Winery: Located in Amissville this is still reasonably close to DC. This winery sits a gorgeous property, there is so much to look at on the property, and I can imagine that it would set the scene for a beautiful wedding. Their wines are made to pair well with Indian food, which is unique and not something I had expected to find in VA wines. It was a unique but very tasty spin. You are able to sample about 11 wines for about $7. They do offer tours (for an additional fee). If I didn’t know as much about wine-making in general from other tours it may have been something we would have done but just relaxing and looking at the land was enough for us.

Prettiest Tasting Room: 
Sunset Hills Winery: A beautiful tasting room with lots of rustic wood. There were many windows from which to view the sunsets but the combination of well-kept antiques and well-cared for wood rafters really made this tasting room stand out as soon as you entered. Simply beautiful! The tasting was lovely as well with friendly staff and tasty wines.

Favorite White Wine (to date):
Fox Meadow Winery: Similar to the way we have stumbled upon many other wineries that is what happened with this one. We were going from place to place and passed this and figured we would stop in – good choice! They had our favorite white wine, to date: Freezeland White. It is described on their website as being a unique blend of Chardonnay, Vidal, and Rkatsiteli, a Georgian varietal. It was sweet but not too sweet, overall just a nice, different, white wine.

Best Celebration: Casanel Vineyards: Casanel Vineyards This is a younger winery in Loudon County but they sure know how to party! We visited this winery on Canaby Rd, by chance, on their first birthday celebration! They had food offerings on a great patio, lots of people there to celebrate, wine-infused cupcakes (which were delicious!), and a great staff on hand! The staff was fabulous in relaying to us their history and plans for the future, and their wine was really tasty!! ** Bonus: Designated Drivers get a free soda at this winery!!

Favorite Variety: 
Willowcroft Winery:  Willowcroft Farm Vineyards This is the original Loudon County winery. They were such a great place to visit and man do they have a wonderful tasting. What I really enjoyed about this winery is that they have a lot of ‘mixed’ wines. I’m sure this would irritate a lot of sommoliers but I really enjoyed getting to taste a variety of wines created from blending varied grapes together.

Cheers to your wine adventures!

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