A few weeks ago, I went on a day trip to Middleburg with some friends to tour the so-called “Virginia Wine Country”. It’s only about an hour away from the DC Metro area, and once you get out there you pretty much can’t throw a rock without hitting a winery. It sounds like a joke, but I’m serious, there are so many. I’m sure VA doesn’t compare to Napa, Bordeaux, or Chianti country (the last of which I have visited, but it was practically the first time I drank wine and I ended up giving most of my samples to my dad. What a waste!). BUT, it’s pretty fun to spend the day sipping wine out in the country with friends.
I had a fabulous day and tasted at 5 wineries (yes, we did have a DD, thank you) which I enjoyed to varying degrees. If anyone in the area is looking to get out of the city this summer, you can’t go wrong with a winery day or weekend! It’s hard to know what the quality of the winery will be before you get there, or what the atmosphere will be like, so here are reviews of the 5 I went to. Happy tasting!
1) Boxwood Winery: Both the first and the worst. Boxwood went for a modern vibe in décor. Very industrial, lots of glass and steel. But somehow it seemed like it would have made more sense in the city, not in the country. To top it off, the wine was not worth the $10 tasting fee for a measley 5 not-so-great wines. At least I got to keep the glass to add to my mismatched collection? Not someplace I would go back to, and not somewhere I would recommend to friends.
2) Greenhill Winery: Lovely atmosphere with a beautiful view of hills and fields. The tasting fee of $8 was a good deal for their yummy 8 wines, and when we decided to get a bottle to share outside, I would have happily drunk a glass of any of the wines we sampled. The winery had an upscale feel, and the prices were a little high, but the wine was worth it. Their outdoor patio had a guitarist playing, and they encouraged guests to bring their own snacks and stay awhile. Were it not for the rain that drove us inside, the ill-timed arrival of a group of 20 tipsy middle-aged friends hot off a party bus, and a schedule to keep to, I could have stayed all day.
3) Chrysalis Vineyards: More casual and country than Green Hill, Chrysalis turned out to be nearly as lovely. Overturned barrels and boards served as rustic furniture, and there was seating both inside and outside. We had our tasting (maybe 10 wines for the low price of $5) outside under a pavilion. Going in the butterfly theme, the wine bottle labels all featured butterflies or winged-butterfly-fairies. In a very cheery state after three tastings and an additional glass, I purchased two bottles, Sarah’s Patio White and Sarah’s Patio Red (both a reasonable $12). The white wasn’t quite as good as I remembered when I opened it last week, but was still pretty tasty. The red, I am saving for later this summer—apparently it makes perfect sangria, with a cup of cherries and a cup of rum. Can’t wait for the perfect occasion!
4) Cana Vineyards: All of the wineries so far had been fairly cozy, so we were surprised when we pulled into the huge parking lot behind Cana and beheld the sprawling, southern-style mansion with its two levels of wrap-around porches. The lower level porches had a mix of tables and rounded counters for wine tasting, and the upper levels (which are adult only) just had tables. Clearly, that place knows how to throw a party. The wine was good (even if the pours were a bit on the small side), and after our $10 tasting fee for about 12 wines, we chose a fruity chilled red to share out on the patio. Yet another place I could have spent all day at, but we still had one more stop on the list!
5) Quattro Goomba’s Winery: I really can’t give Quattro Goomba a fair review, seeing that I was fairly tipsy at this point. The atmosphere (compared to Green Hill and Cana) was a little lacking, and there was a huge barn full of junk and “antiques” next door (and a couple of port-a-potties as well, which were apparently supposed to serve as bathrooms). The winery’s facilities spanned two buildings, one with a large open area for seating and parties, and another smaller building with counters for tasting and some tables (as well as a nice covered porch). The tasting fee was $6, for maybe 8 wines. The birthday girl had to bow out of the drinking after the first wine sample (which was probably a good idea since she is 4’11’’ and does not weigh very much), and we hurried her off the premises not long afterwards. So it wasn’t a bad experience, but not really a memorable one either. A coworker went the weekend after for a rehearsal dinner though, and loved the atmosphere, and the winery’s signature wine slushies, which we apparently overlooked. I’d like to try it again sometime, and not 5th out of 5 stops!
More reviews to come later this summer when I try another batch of wineries with the boyfriend!