Barrel Oak Winery; November 2014

Another weekend, another winery.  Yeah, our weekends really are the best.

On Saturday we packed up our car and headed out 66 to Barrel Oak Winery to meet Wino #1’s dad and step-mom for a tasting and a quiet afternoon.  We hoped it would be a little quieter since the weather is starting to cool off, but unfortunately they are still poppin’ bottles in Delaplane!  In addition to the usual crowd, there were 7 or 8 party buses that had groups in and out throughout the time we were there.  Thank goodness we left the dogs at home because Robbie and Ollie would have been absolutely insane with all of the stimulation, not to mention trying to get their paws on the two great dane’s lounging by the fire.


We managed to arrive with just enough time to grab a table upstairs overlooking the tasting room.  As we unpacked our snacks we caught a few glimpses from some wine-tasting newbies that obviously did not know the proper way to spend an afternoon at a winery (gotta have your essentials– gourmet cheeses, meats, baguettes, chocolate, veggies, etc.).  They seemed impressed by our spread, and a little jealous.  Point for the winos.


When wino #1’s dad and step-mom arrived, we caught up for a bit and then invited them to do a tasting with us. We didn’t have to convince her step-mom too much, but her dad took a while to come around (not a wine drinker).  At Barrel Oak, they offer several different tasting options depending on where you are in the winery.  At the main tasting bar, they let you choose from 5 smaller tastings based on what you like- dry whites, sweet whites, dry reds, sweet reds, desserts, etc.  At the other tasting bars (outdoors and upstairs), you can do the BOW tasting, the WOW tasting, or BOTH.  Obvious choice = BOTH.

We’ve done many tastings at Barrel Oak but it’s always fun and interesting on each occasion, especially with new people and servers.  We can honestly say that we learn something new each time we do a tasting (although on a few occasions, we may know more than our server– insert awkward moment when “Viognier” was pronounced Vig-nor).  Anyway, our tasting was great and especially entertaining with wino #1’s dad giving his commentary.  Now officially a “wine connoisseur” he quite enjoyed in his words “light and sassy” Bowhaus White, and the “rambunctious” Cabarnet Franc, but his definite favorite was the Chocolate Lab which he took a bottle of home (yuck, dessert wine).  All in all, he seemed to enjoy his tasting, especially when our server brought out a bag of M&M’s and let him try all of the wine with chocolate.

The girls settled for a bottle of Cab Franc and slowly sipped the afternoon away from the tasting room loft.  It was great to catch up and share the experience with them.  They loved the beauty of the winery, the wine, the fire pits outside, the view, the dogs, and the food.  They did not however love the noise.  It was extremely loud where we were sitting, and only grew noisier as the group next to us continued to expand- young couples became young couples with dogs, and then young couples with dogs and babies. Fun.

Overall it was a great day with family and we’d definitely recommend Barrel Oak for anyone new to wine tasting in Virginia and looking for a fun afternoon.  It’s lively, family-friendly, dog-friendly, tasty, and beautiful.  This place is definitely loud and gets crowded so keep that in mind when you plan your visit.
Maybe next time we’ll bring the pups?

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