Dear PoPville – Wondering about Virginia and/or Maryland Wineries

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lauren PM

Dear PoPville,

With the weather starting to turn and the days getting longer I’ve started thinking about planning a long overdue winery trip out to NOVA or Maryland. Do you have any good winery spots that might be worth looking into? I’m thinking of places within an hour or two drive from DC that I could go out to and back for a long afternoon. Thanks for any help you can provide!

In Feb. 2011 Kristi recommended some Virginia wineries. Do you guys know of any other Virginia or Maryland spots that are within an hour or two drive from DC?

44 Comment

  • Make the trip to Charlottesville. It’s a very pleasant two hour drive. Stay the night at the King’s Inn, visit 3-4 wineries both large and small. There are some ridiculously nice places down there.

  • Black Ankle Vineyards in MD

    • Agreed.

      Black Ankle makes good wine and is a very pleasant setting. They seem to do best with Bordeaux-style blends and syrah, and also do a nice albarino and viognier. Unlike many MD wines, Black Ankle’s are not sweet.

  • Old House Vineyards in Culpeper, VA – great tasting, beautiful grounds, and Culpeper is a quiet cute little town.

  • Linden Vinyards- out I66 west. Superb, very high quality Bordeaux-style reds (not cheap). Nice place and nice people, too

  • I’m going to sound snobby here, but I mean it in the best way. None of the wineries that I’ve been to have served the best wine, so I like to plan my trips solely on the location. Many are very pretty, and even a mediocre glass of wine tastes better when you’re looking at fun surroundings. I’ve enjoyed a few of the wineries around Front Royal, and agree re: Charlottesville.

  • There’s a nice wine/cheese/beer store in Culpeper too, right on the main strip. I think the owner grew up in Palisades if I remember correctly. There’s a decent diner there as well, same block as the cheese shop and right on the corner. You can’t miss it.

  • My girlfriend and I had a nice time at Barboursville. There are some beautiful ruins and the wine is OK (Clyde’s restaurant group carries their wine). They have a pre-fix lunch menu that was good as well. I’m not going to say it was AMAZING but we had a good time.

    Barboursville Vineyards »

    Hours of operation:
    Mon-Sat 10am-5pm | Sun 11am-5pm
    17655 Winery Road, Barboursville, VA 22923
    (540) 832-3824

    If you’re planning to make a weekend out of it, stay here:

  • We like Rappahanock and Dessert Rose out at Front Royal. Barrell Oak is fun and etremely dog friendly.

  • saf

    What kind of wine do you like?

    I have yet to find a drinkable MD wine, and only some of the VA wineries are to my taste, but I am a dry wine fan. Sweet wine fans will do better than I do in MD. So, looking for good wine or decent wine with a nice setting? Any particular style?

  • Going to second Black Ankle in MD. I haven’t been to the winery, but they make the best east coast wines I’ve had.

  • We enjoy Barboursville near C’ville. Their Octagon just won the VA Governor’s Cup. Close by there is our new favorite, Keswick, a small venue. In addition to a lovely Cabernet Reserve (09) they partner with a chocolatier in CA to make a dessert sauce from their left over Norton harvest. Yum.

  • Went to Unicorn Winery in VA with some friends last year. Wine was “meh”, but we had a great time and they have a very nice location for hanging out. That seems to be the trend with most wineries in VA, in my experience.

  • I’ll echo the Linden recommendation. Delaplane Cellars is a bit closer – I think their reds are great. Glen Manor is my other favorite spot. It’s farther – on the other side of Shenandoah, south of Front Royal, but their wines are great.

  • This is kind of hard to answer without knowing the type of wine you like. I haven’t tried any Maryland wineries, but Virginia’s tend to skew sweet. I have a few favorites (Hiddencroft, Narmada to name a couple), but I would suggest going to the Virginia wineries website, picking a few wineries that are close together and making a day of it. Generally you’ll find a few hits with the misses.

  • My fiance and I have been combing through Northern Virginia wineries looking for a wedding venue, and there are definitely some standouts:

    *The Winery at Bull Run (music on weekend afternoons, fantastic wine selection, great patio, next to civil war battlefield)
    *Doukenie Winery (we loved their wine so much we joined their case club the first day we visited–cute family-run operation)
    *Flying Fox Vineyards (small cozy barn, pretty in the springtime)
    *Bluemont Vineyards (nice reds, beautiful view)
    *Barrel Oak Winery (pet-friendly, right of Rt 66)

    I also love love love Boordy Vineyards around the Loch Raven reservoir outside of Towson, MD. They do weekend events (music, clambakes, etc) as well. Have a great time!!

  • Paradise Springs in Clifton, VA.
    La Grange in Haymarket, VA

    • A Chinese company bought Le Grange – they sell wine (grapes not grown by Le Grange) in China as Chateau Le Grange. Clearly a massive trademark violation – though a glass of Chateau Le Grange for $5-10 should be suspect.

      • saf

        Yeah, we used to really enjoy LaGrange.

        It was not what it used to be last time, in terms of ambiance. And while they currently have a decent winemaker, I do wonder how long they will keep him.

  • Very Close (Clifton VA), nice setting and OK wine

  • Just east of Fredericksburg, in the northern neck, there are several very good wineries. Ingleside would be my favorite so far, with General’s Ridge and Hague following behind. There are others further south that I have yet to try, but I have been very impressed with the wines of these vineyards. The grounds of Ingleside are also quite beautiful, and they have a great setting. General’s Ridge has a rotating art show, and some delicious snacks to munch that pair nicely with their wines.

  • Does Oasis Winery still exist? Love how the people on that show only got the drama before/after the show existed.

  • Mediterranean Cellars out in Warrenton (1 hour drive w/no traffic) has my favorite wine in the region, and the scenery/location is fantastic.

  • If you are going to Charlottesville or Culpepper don’t forget that Amtrak is an economical and fun way to get down there in style (plus it doesn’t get stuck in traffic).

    I did that a few weeks ago and had a blast. Forget the winery we went to but the wine was nothing special. Lots of wonderful food in Charlottesville though.

  • My favorite wineries that are less than an hour away are Naked Mountain & Three Foxes – both near Delaplane. Wine is decent, views and setting are what you go there for.

    • Three Foxes has a special place in my heart because it’s so close to DC and I have had fun every time I have gone. They are not snobby and don’t make you feel like you have to be (or pretend to be) a wine afficionado in order to have a good time. They have a little shop where you can buy cheese or any little picnic items you forgot to pack, and they have plenty of beautiful space to lay out, picnic, or take a post-tasting nap!

  • Loved these guys– they do a nice tasting as well. if you like sparkling reds, the Sarah’s Patio Red is delightful. near Middleburg, VA. There’s a couple other vineyards not too far away if you wanted to hit more than one place.

  • I also endorse Black Ankle. The wine is pretty darn good for these parts, and the setting is lovely.

  • I recommend Early Mountain Vineyard’s in Madison, Virginia (about an hour and a half drive). Their tasting room was voted #2 in the state recently and they have bands on Friday night for Fireside Fridays. Pets are welcome too. They not only pour their own Early Mountain varietals, but those of their Best of Virginia partner vineyards (8 total) in their tasting room.

  • I attended a wonderful wedding reception at Veritas Vineyard & Winery (Afton, half hour west of Charlottesville) a couple of years ago. Great setting, great food, great wine.

  • The photo above was taken at O’Brien’s Vineyard, which was recommended to me by a foodie friend. We did the cellar visit – very much recommended! Best VA wine I’ve had to date.

  • Barrel Oak & Linden are about an hour away. Both are great!

  • I’m late so I don’t know if anyone will read this but I’ve gone to a lot of places in VA and a few in MD. For MD, try one of the wine routes the industry has put together. The wine wasn’t amazing but it was fun and it is interesting to see some newer wineries evolve and develop. In VA, I’ve had some not-great wine, but never a bad experience at the 12 or so places I’ve been. The smaller ones are the best so you can often meet the winemaker. I’ve gotten great stories of people living their dream and moving into the wine industry.

  • I went to the MD wine festival a year ago and most MD wines are terrible, like really bad. The only one i liked was Boordy Vineyards, but its not fancy wine, its more of fun wine with interesting flavors. It is kind of alcoholic juice. I highly recommend Jazzberry! Also Boordy has live music often so its a fun day trip. As for VA you will have better luck there. As others have mentioned Barboursville is pretty good and its fun to visit cause they have ruins you can explore on the grounds.

  • Someone mentioned it already but Barrel Oak in Delaplane, VA is a great spot. They allow dogs on the property and even in the lodge. On nice days they do tastings outside. On cooler days people gather around several fire pits. The atmosphere can’t be beat.

  • I agree with everyone that visiting the local wineries can be a lot of fun. Reston Limo has day trips to wineries in VA on Saturdays and Sundays if you don’t want to drive and don’t want to organize getting car service. We visited two wineries and we brought our own picnic lunch. I used a living social voucher, but I think the real cost is fair.

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