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6 Top Wineries Near Washington, D.C.
These six wineries make for great day trips from the nation's capital.
RdV Vineyards sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Delaplane, Virginia. A tasting and tour costs $50 per person.(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The nation's capital is a stone's throw from dozens of beautiful wineries, particularly in Virginia.
"Just a short drive into Virginia wine country will yield an experience similar to the famed vineyards of Northern California and the rolling hills of Umbria in Italy," says Erich Hosbach, director of sales and marketing at The Graham Georgetown hotel.
To get a sense of what's nearby, Sherri Dalphonse, executive editor of Washingtonian magazine, recommends wine aficionados download an app called "Virginia Wine in My Pocket," which gives descriptions of all the state's wineries. For wine tours in Maryland, visit the website Vino 301 Wine Concierge.
But it can be hard to decide where to visit with so many options. If you're looking for great wineries that are an easy drive from the District of Columbia, local experts give these establishments high praise not only for their wines, but their exquisite scenery, tours and tastings.
Boxwood Estate Winery
Rich in colonial and Civil War history and scenic mountain views, Middleburg is home to a number of wineries, including the highly recommended Boxwood Estate Winery.
Located on a national historic landmark farm, the winery offers three types of group tastings and features monthly events, including live music. Tastings are available for $10 a person. For $20 a person, groups of eight or more can enjoy a guided tour of the winery, a tasting with a staff member and a complimentary wineglass.
The winery is just over an hour's drive from the District and is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Chrysalis Vineyards(Courtesy of Chrysalis Vineyards)
A winery with a down-to-earth feel, Chrysalis Vineyards is known for its unique selection of wines and its views of the Bull Run Mountains. “There are walking paths around the facilities, and many places to sit and relax,” owner Jennifer McCloud says.
Chrysalis Vineyards' grape varieties come from Europe as well as native Virginia. In fact, it has the world's largest planting of the native American Norton grape, which produces a distinctive and bold red wine. McCloud invites people to try the Locksley Reserve Norton, the winery's flagship wine, when they visit.
For $15, visitors can sample 10 of the vineyard's wines. Chrysalis Vineyards is about an hour's drive from the nation's capital. From April through October, it's open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. During the rest of the year, it's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week.
Founded by Italian immigrants Mike and Rose Fiore nearly 30 years ago, Fiore Winery offers at least 50 products, and tastings and tours that are available year-round on weekends and by request. Cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, pinot grigio, chardonnay, sangiovese, merlot and chambourcin, which produces its award-winning signature red, are some of the grapes grown on-site.
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"We are also a distillery. So in addition to the wines, we make distilled spirits, like grappa, limoncello, rye whiskey, corn whiskey and many others," owner Tony Fiore says. A great time to visit the winery is the third weekend in August, when it hosts its annual jazz festival. "We have been running that for over 25 years now," Fiore says.
From the District of Columbia, it's an approximately two-hour drive. Tastings cost $5 per person, and for an additional $5, the winery offers spirits tastings. From April through October, the winery is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. The rest of the year, it's open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
RdV Vineyards(Courtesy of RdV Vineyards)
Oenophiles rave about the family-owned RdV Vineyards, which sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dalphonse says. The vineyard offers an exclusive, $50-a-person tasting and tour. "The wines are really expensive. But many foodies claim it's producing some of the best wines in the region," she says.
If you have time, it's worth walking through the beautiful grounds of this vineyard, says Bria Del Villar, concierge at the Rosewood Washington, D.C., hotel, which serves RdV wines at its restaurants.
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A little over an hour from the District by car, RdV Vineyards is open all year by appointment, Thursday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Delaplane Cellars(Courtesy of Betsy Dolphin, Delaplane Cellars)
For a relaxing wine tasting experience, try Delaplane Cellars, "which has a cozy tasting room with windows overlooking the mountains," Dalphonse says. It specializes in single-vineyard Bordeaux-style red blends, most notably Left Bank (its estate red), Springlot and Williams Gap. It has also received media buzz for its Petit Manseng, an off-dry white varietal wine.
On weekends during the season, the winery features live musicians – but owner Jim Dolphin says the winery won't book bands or groups that use percussion so that the establishment can maintain a "chill" atmosphere.
Tastings cost $12 for six wines, and are free for members of the military and veterans. The winery's tasting room is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is approximately an hour from the nation's capital.
The scenic Hillsborough Vineyards, located in a quaint pre-Civil War village, is an old manor house that was converted into a winery about 15 years ago, Hosbach says. And, he adds, the sunset views of the nearby valley are the best around. "Sit in an Adirondack chair under a canopy of vines and sip wine specialties, while savoring charcuterie and exotic cheeses and watch the sun set over the Shenandoah Valley," Hosbach suggests.
On its website, the winery says it likes to age its wines "a bit longer than other Virginia wineries to give them a softer and creamier taste."
The winery has several tastings options. For its higher-quality reserve wines, tastings are $15 per person. Tastings of lighter, more summery wines are $10 per person. Visitors can also order food. Hillsborough Vineyards is about an hour's drive from the District. It's open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., April through December, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Monday during the winter months.
To experience more of what Washington, D.C., has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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