A Guide to the Perfect Day in DC’s Wine Country

Loudoun County is home to over 40 wineries and tasting rooms and has officially earned the title of “DC’s Wine Country”.  Divided into 6 wine clusters, Loudoun has quickly put itself on the map for both Virginian’s and tourists that are looking to blend a wine-tasting experience with the rich history of Virginia and the natural beauty of the countryside.  The ever expanding wine world in Loudoun now offers so many choices on where to spend your afternoon swirling and sipping that it may be hard to pick a destination.  Thankfully, we are here to help!  We have visited 28 of the 40 wineries in Loudoun County and have taken the liberty to create the guide to the perfect day in DC’s Wine Country.  Although it was challenging to narrow our list down to only a few, we believe our guide encapsulates the experience of Virginia Wine in just one day.  The guide features both the big, beautiful tasting rooms, and the small, intimate wine-tasting experiences.  Soak up the history; sniff, swirl, and sip the wines; and indulge in an afternoon in DC’s Wine Country!

Begin your afternoon in Purceville at one of the largest producing wineries in the state, Breaux Vineyards.  Breaux, located just 9 miles from Harper’s Ferry, is home to several award winning wines and the tasting room offers beautiful Virginia views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Enjoy a tasting for $10 and opt for the winery tour (extra $5) if you feel like enhancing your wine education.  Although Breaux tends to produce drier wines, they offer a great selection of whites and reds for each palate.  The winery has different hours depending on the season but normally opens it’s doors at 11am.  We recommend getting an early start and beating the crowds as this is a popular destination.  Breaux is dog-friendly (property and tasting room!), picnic friendly (outdoors only), and welcomes large groups with a reservation.  For more information go to Breaux’s website.

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Departing Breaux, head back towards Leesburg and you’ll pass a huge selection of wineries on Route 9.  We obviously recommended checking out as many of these as you can on other days, but for the perfect day in DC’s Wine Country our next recommendation is The Barns at Hamilton Station.  This smaller winery is located in Hamilton, VA off of Route 7 and is the perfect combination of rustic decor and well-crafted wine.  Known to it’s loyal customers as “The Barns”, the winery is also easily accessible from the W&OD trail for any cyclists out there!  The tasting room sits on 10 acres of land and is a beautifully renovated barn.  The winery features a main tasting area built of reclaimed wood featuring a large fire place, couches, a deck overlooking a nice view, a downstairs cellar, and a loft area.  Enjoy a tasting here for $7, and if you can strike up a conversation with the friendly staff you’ll hear more about their work with Charlottesville’s Michael Shaps.  The Barns is making French-style wines and has a good mix of dry and off-dry whites, big and bold reds, and a special port style dessert wine.

DSC_1617.jpgOur next stop for the day is the unique Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg off of Route 15.  Although driving up to this spot might feel more like pulling up to someone’s house, once you step inside you are transported to a wine tasting experience like no other.  Every month, Doug Fabbioli and Co. change their tasting menu to offer 7 wines paired with 7 gourmet bites of food.  The concept is fantastic and the experience is even better.   Sit back and let your palate go to work by sipping, snacking and then sipping again.  Taste how the flavors change and how the food brings new life to the wines.   It’s a truly unique experience and a must-see on our list of DC’s Wine Country.  Tastings here are $15 but include the bites of food (they offer vegetarian and gluten free options if needed).  Although they do produce some well-crafted white wines, Fabbioli is known for the quality of their award winning red wines.  From the Tre Sorelle Bordeaux-style blend to the Latin influenced Paco Rojo, and of course the more classic Virginia red’s like Cab Franc and Chambourcin, Fabbioli’s wines are of the highest quality and care.  In addition to their powerful reds they also feature several creative dessert wines including the Raspberry Merlot, which is typically paired with a delicious local chocolate, and the Pear Wine (there is actually a pear grown in the bottle!).  Fabbioli Cellars is a must stop on your winery day!

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Travel down Route 15 through the City of Leesburg to our next destination, Stone Tower Winery.  Located in Leesburg right off of Route 15 just a few miles from The Oatlands, Stone Tower is owned by Christi and Mike Huber whom also own a furniture store in Sterling.  Currently undergoing an expansion, the family’s old garage was converted to their current tasting room, a beautiful barn-like venue.  Stone Tower combines a beautiful view, an incredibly designed property featuring a wine grotto, and an impeccably decorated tasting room with well-made Virginia wines.  Stone Tower is one of the larger vineyards in the Northern Virginia area and it continues to grow each year.  As this is a newer winery, they are sourcing many of their grapes from other Virginia vineyards.  All of the made on the property with their grapes fall under the Stone Tower Winery label, while their outsourced grapes fall under their Wild Boar label.  You can sample one of two options for a tasting here– their current vintages or their reserve tasting.  We recommend the reserve (there is a sparkling blanc de blanc on that tasting sheet that we love!).  Overall, their wines are very well-made and they have a good selection of whites and reds for all seasons.  Fun tidbit for when you visit– make sure to ask about their concrete egg fermenter!

These wineries in Loudoun County are the perfect place for a day trip to experience what Virginia Wine is all about.  Enjoy the tastes, the views, the people, and the culture of DC’s Wine Country.

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