7 Virginia Wineries to Visit This Fall
Stomp grapes, steep yourself in history and sip a glass or two while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Thomas Jefferson holds the distinction of being Virginia’s (not to mention the nation’s) first distinguished viticulturist, so it’s no surprise that more than 300 wineries dot the commonwealth he called home. Whether you’re looking to stomp a few grapes, explore a bit of history, escape to the countryside with kids in tow or simply unplug, there’s an experience for every taste—much like the wines at these bucolic vineyards.
Situated at the edge of Shenandoah National Park, this vineyard takes environmentalism seriously. It limits the use of chemical sprays, uses organic materials, composts grape waste byproducts and plants wildflowers next to the vineyard to welcome beneficial insects. The property offers a tasting room plus shaded lawns, a tented patio and a deck for outdoor seating. Available wines include the Bordeaux-esque 2017 Triskele, which won the Virginia Governor’s Cup Gold Medal, as well as chardonnay, pinot gris and petit verdot. Approximate drive time from Arlington: 90 minutes. //40 Gibson Hollow Lane, Etlan, VA 22719, 540-923-4206
The closest to Arlington and the first in Fairfax County, this 36-acre Clifton winery sits on property that was originally part of a 1716 land grant from Lord Fairfax to the Kincheloes, and it’s been in the family ever since. The site, which borders the Bull Run River, has a log cabin that is estimated to have been built between 1800 and 1825, and was renovated in 1955. Operating as a winery since 2010, Paradise Springs is open to guests for tours and tastings, and is family-friendly, with live music on Saturdays and Sundays. The tasting menu includes a dry red called Chill, a pale pink Nana’s Rosé and the Norton 2019, made with a grape the winery says “has the highest concentration of antioxidants in any red grape.” Approximate drive time from Arlington: 30 minutes. //13219 Yates Ford Road, Clifton, VA 20124, 703-830-9463
Pull up a seat at the Virginia Table, a tasting room and patio that serves wine pairings with artisanal charcuterie and cheese boards, rockfish, grilled pork chops and other seasonal dishes. Early Mountain’s tasting room was voted the best in the country by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers Choice survey in 2016. For a more rustic setting, grab a picnic table in the meadow, which has its own menu featuring sandwiches such as country ham and gouda, smoked salmon and roasted eggplant. On its 55 acres of vineyard, Early Mountain grows grapes for merlot, malbec, sauvignon blanc and other varietals. Approximate drive time from Arlington: 90 minutes. //6109 Wolftown-Hood Road, Madison, VA 22727, 540-948 9005
Barboursville’s 2015 Paxxito, a dessert wine, won the 2021 Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition. Sip it—or choose from a variety of sparkling, red and white options—in the Discovery Tasting Room, Library 1821 and Palladio Restaurant. Open daily, the Tasting Room has the broadest selection of vino, while Library 1821 (closed Tuesdays) offers a revolving menu of current and older vintages, plus small plates. The latter is so named because it is “a repository for selected documents from our history,” including a letter from President John Quincy Adams appointing James Barbour to his cabinet as secretary of war, along with original household china. For a full meal, reserve a spot at Palladio, where northern Italy meets Virginia with dishes such as veal ravioli, risotto with gorgonzola and Maine lobster cake. Work up an appetite or walk off your overindulgence by strolling to the nearby Barboursville Ruins, the mansion Jefferson designed for Gov. James Barbour. Approximate drive time from Arlington: 1 hour, 45 minutes. //17655 Winery Road, Barboursville, VA 22923, 540-832-3824
It’s easy to unplug at Linden. The idyllic winery has no public Wifi, and cell service is sporadic, so your best move is to simply kick back and relax. Known for its chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and Bordeaux-style red blends, Linden was an abandoned apple orchard when the 76-acre property became a vineyard in 1985. Indoor and outdoor seatings for wine tastings are open only to Friends of Linden members and their guests, at a cost of $18 per person. Traditional tastings are available to nonmembers at the tasting counter for $22 per person. The maximum group size for either is four. Note that reservations and proof of Covid vaccination are required. Approximate drive time from Arlington: 1 hour. //3708 Harrels Corner Road, Linden, VA 22642, 540-364-1997
Always dreamed of stomping grapes? Get down and dirty on Fridays throughout the fall at Pearmund Cellars’ Crush Monkey events. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., guests learn to press, punch, stir and stomp in a cathartic experience with the promise of refreshment at the end. The $100 per person fee includes a t-shirt, lunch, a bottle of wine and stained feet. (Kidding about that last part.) You’ll also learn about cleaning and washing, but dress for a mess and bring a change of clothes. Approximate drive time from Arlington: 45 minutes. //6190 Georgetown Road, Broad Run, VA 20137, 540-347-3475
Tucked between the foothills of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill mountains, Breaux has 404 total acres, 104 of which are vineyards that produce grapes for 17 varietals, including cabernet franc, muscat and viognier. The vineyard’s 2016 Meritage—a mix of merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon and malbec—and 2016 Nebbiolo were featured in the 2021 Governor’s Cup Case, which recognizes the state’s best wines. Indoor and outdoor tastings are offered, and dogs and children are welcome in certain areas at certain times. Vineyard tours are also available at $10 per person with a minimum of 10 people. Approximate drive time from Arlington: 1 hour. //36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane, Purcellville, VA 20132, 540-668-6299