Skip to main content

Wine Weekend: How to Make the Most of Northern Virginia Wine Country

virginia wine country
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Wine and Virginia have been connected for centuries, dating back to Thomas Jefferson’s (more or less) failed attempts to grow wine at his estate, Monticello. Since then, wine growing and wine making in the Old Dominion has grown by leaps in bounds not only in knowledge and skill, but in numbers as well. Currently, it ranks fifth in the nation in number of wineries (over 240!) with no signs of slowing down.

For the moment, though, we’re not going to concern ourselves with the bulk of those wineries. Instead, we’re going to focus only on one of Virginia’s wine-growing regions, Northern Virginia, because, if you don’t know your geography, it’s really freaking close to Washington D.C.

In NoVa alone, there are more wineries than you could pack into one, two, three, or even ten weekends. Even the most fortified of us would have a hard time hitting all 93 wineries in so few days. So, then, how would you choose if you were headed to D.C. and wanted to taste some vino?

Easy. You don’t, because we did for you.

We’ve selected some of our favorites that can be found only about an hour from D.C., making it incredibly easy to hop in the car with some buddies or a loved one (or both, earn points by doing a double date wine weekend) and hit a couple of wineries over the course of two or so days.

RdV Vineyards – Delaplane, Virginia

Image used with permission by copyright holder

RdV Vineyards prides itself (rightly) on being, as they say, “Neither Bordeaux nor Napa, but uniquely our own.” At RdV, they make two types of wine—Lost Mountain and Rendezvous, both high quality red blends that you taste while doing an intensive pairing with local artisanal foods. Beyond the wines, the facility is gorgeous, offering an aesthetic that is rarely matched.

Three Fox Vineyards – Delaplane, Virginia

Image used with permission by copyright holder

If your grandmother talked of Italy and the old country, then Three Fox is where to head. With a wine program that is focused on making Italian-style wines, some of which (such as Nebbiolo) you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere on your NoVa wine journey.

Delaplane Cellars – Delaplane, Virginia

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Delaplane Cellars focuses on wines grown from 100% Virginia grapes and strives to maintain an intimate environment at their winery (they don’t allow parties over six at a time). On the wine side, they offer a nice mix of red and white, easily sating the palates of anyone in your group.

Boxwood Estate Winery – Middleburg, Virginia

Image used with permission by copyright holder

While Boxwood Estate Winery has multiple off-site locations that you can go to to taste their products (including one in D.C.), heading out to Middleburg is a much better experience. A red heavy portfolio, Boxwood Estate is owned by former Redskins owner John Kent Cook and offers both standard and group wine tasting.

Stone Tower Winery – Leesburg, Virginia

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A good place to visit if you like white wine, Stone Tower offers a number of wine tasting options, depending on how much or how little you want to do. These range from a vineyard and winery tour with tasting, to a wine and cheese tasting to a behind-the-scenes winemaker experience to custom-designed tours.

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
How to make the controversial Singapore Sling cocktail
While its exact origins might be up for debate, the Singapre Sling has endured
Singapore Sling

Many classic cocktails have an uncertain history because of a lack of record keeping or a long game of telephone where one name or ingredient was inaccurately transformed into another over time. The Singapore Sling, however, might be the most convoluted of all because of the myriad of ingredients it contains, but there are a few things that have been uncovered thus far. For starters, the cocktail isn't even a sling.

According to renowned cocktail historian David Wondrich — who has done the work of the cocktail gods by sifting through various texts and archives to unravel when and where the cocktail originated and what was originally in it — there are a few ingredients that are a part of the recipe for certain. Gin, a cherry brandy (kirschwasser style), Bénédictine, lime juice, and a few dashes of bitters seem to be the constants based on a mention of this particular formula in the Singapore Weekly Sun in 1915.

Read more
This distillery just released its first-ever single-malt Scotch whisky
Scotch fans have eagerly awaited this release for five years

If you’re new to the world of whisk(e)y, you might not know that Scotch whisky is broken up into five distinct regions. They are Campbeltown, the Lowlands, the Highlands, Speyside, and Islay. Campbeltown is literally just a town, but the other regions make up a fairly large geographical area of the country. With one other exception: Islay.

Islay is an island in the Inner Hebrides that is filled with thousands of sheep, various Highland cows, around 3,000 people, and nine distilleries. Known for its smoky, peaty whiskies, Islay is home to big names like Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Cao Ila, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and most recently Ardnahoe.
What’s in a name?

Read more
Upgrade your Memorial Day BBQ with these tasty, quick 3-ingredient dips
Just say no to store-bought dip

If there's one thing that draws people together at any event or gathering, it's the snack table. Clustered around, the colorful spread of crudites and dips gathered both the hungry and the socially awkward among us. We reach for the cheese and crackers, dipping our baby carrots into the jarred, name-brand French onion spread and nod along politely with the mindless chatter. It can be a painful time, to be sure. One made all the more painful by humdrum, store-bought dip. If you've ever found yourself in this situation, or worse, hosted such a gathering, you might have asked yourself how to jazz up the mundane. How to add a bit of interest to the grocery store platter of pre-cut cheese squares. The answer we have found is in the dip. And perhaps your guest list, but that's another article.
We've all fallen prey to the easy way out in the form of store-bought dips or spreads. There's no shame in this, but there is a need to remedy the situation. Store-bought dips are not only expensive but they're usually filled with ungodly amounts of added chemicals and preservatives, too. So why not make your own? Especially when homemade dips can be so incredibly simple to make?
These dips contain just three ingredients, are absolutely delicious, and come together in seconds. So whether you're throwing together a last-minute soiree, getting the entire family together for Memorial Day weekend, or just hoping to liven up your go-to snack table, these dips are the answer.
While very tasty on their own, feel free to think of these recipes as a jumping-off point for your culinary creativity. Each of these dips is absolutely delicious with just their three ingredients (no, salt and pepper don't count), but if you want to add more spices and ingredients, don't hold back!

Lemon and goat cheese dip

Read more