Three day weekends are a perfect excuse to use one of the days to get out of the city. One of the things I love best about DC is that within 45 minutes you can easily be in rural Virginia and enjoy some terrific vineyards, apple picking, antique shops and historic towns. The wine industry has exploded in Virginia over the last decade with varying degrees of success. We have visited at least 20 of them and some are putting out terrific stuff…others not so much. However, it’s always fun to get out there and check them out even if the wine isn’t the best. Recently we tried a new spot, Greenhill Winery. My friend Celeste turned me onto this place (she runs a fabulous blog herself you should check out Corking Around) and it’s just terrific. Right outside Middleburg, this vineyard makes all their wine with grapes grown in Virginia (not all of them do). You can book your tastings online which given how busy some of these places can get is a great service to offer. We booked an outside tasting and they set us up on their patio.
They also have a great inside tasting room, a large picnic area where you can bring your own food and enjoy a bottle. For wine club members they also have a large manor house on the property where they do additional events. We joined the wine club and if you find a vineyard that you really like this can be a good deal. Greenhill gives you some free tastings and a discount on their wine if you are a member. Even if you don’t want to make that kind of investment I recommend signing up for emails from some of your favorites as all of these local vineyards do events like jazz festivals, cheese tastings etc. Many are dog friendly as well (make sure to check ahead of time) and somewhat surprisingly a great place to bring kids. There is plenty of room to run around and as long as you bring along snacks and non adult grape juice it’s a great family spot.
We did a full tasting and were impressed by the quality. Our favorites was their Riesling, nice and dry and citrusy and Ontology made out of Chambourcin grapes which grow really well in the region. They are open noon to 6 everyday so hop in the car and go have a lovely afternoon. Some of my other favorites are Chrysalis Vineyards, also in Middleburg, and in Purcelville there is Hillsborough Vineyards and Breaux. Leave any more recommendations in the comments section. Happy labor day!