Summer is the ideal season for a quick getaway. The days are longer. The kids are out of school. The sun is shining bright. And if you’re looking for a few quick day trips, we’d suggest soaking up Northern Virginia’s expansive wine scene. Virginia is the fifth largest state for wine production in the country. In 2010, about 1.6 million people visited wineries in the Commonwealth, and you might want to consider being one of them this year. Even if you’re not an oenophile, wineries have a lot more to offer than just tasty drinks. You can pack a whole picnic and take in the beautiful landscape. Bring your family, a date, or just a few friends. You can even catch the big game on the screens at a few of these spots. And each one will give you a chance to check out a different part of Northern Virginia. No matter which one you choose, know that each spot offers wine, scenic views, and a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
The Winery at Bull Run
Visitors will enjoy a healthy dose of wine and history at this Manassas spot. Chances are you’ll fall in love with the meticulous landscaping, including trees that drape over the entrance—making it almost resemble the entrance of a southern plantation. Once you’ve parked in the gravel lot, head inside the warm and cozy tasting room, complete with a wood bar, tables, chairs, and soft lighting. Sidle up to the bar for a tasting, or buy some wine to enjoy either indoors or alfresco. Choose the indoor patio if you’d like to avoid the bugs, or you can even watch TV in the tasting room. But when the weather’s nice, you’ll have ample gorgeous greenery to admire outside. No matter what setting you choose, make a point of checking out the Civil War relics like belt buckles and bullets—the owner has collected them from throughout the region. As far as wine goes, I’d recommend the Delany. This sweet, smooth, and light white wine, named after the owner’s daughter, is sure to satisfy on a hot summer day.
15950 Lee Highway
Centreville, VA 20120
Paradise Springs Winery
Clifton’s Paradise Springs Winery is just what an urban winery should be. It’s located on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it plot of land just off Clifton’s quaint, historic Main Street. But this is one spot you won’t want to drive past. Expect an after-work crowd here; I met a teacher on Friday when I visited in December. Enjoy your wine in the spacious, luxurious-looking tasting room that comes complete with a glass wall that allows visitors to see the wooden barrels where the wine is aged. Enjoy your vino inside the tasting room or out on the indoor patio; we’d recommend the alfresco option to really soak it up. Pair your vista with the impressive Viognier—the official state grape of Virginia. Be sure to take photos of the vineyard out front. The view alone will make you feel like you’re in the country and far removed from the hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia.
13219 Yates Ford Road
Clifton, VA 20124
Opened in 1997, Chrysalis is the oldest pick of these three wineries. This Middleburg spot is famous for showcasing the Norton grape. A native grape of America, Chrysalis’ owner has gone to great lengths to preserve this now rare vintage. As a result, Chrysalis may have the largest planting of this grape in the entire East Coast, and it’s worth a sip. Expect a rich, deep red with a flavor that’s almost spicy. Even if you don’t prefer reds, the winery also stocks Sarah’s Patio White—a light and crisp wine that will make a summer’s day seem even sweeter. Each of these wineries featured gorgeous scenery, but Chrysalis by far had the most sweeping views of Virginia’s Bull Run Mountains. And the winery’s new tasting room is gorgeous. This huge, ultra-modern space—slated to open in May—will eventually feature not only wine, but fresh-made sandwiches, cheeses, and bread, too. Visitors will love keeping it local. I could easily see myself sitting on the patio enjoying wine and sandwiches for hours during a long day. If you’d prefer, you can also check out the original, quaint tasting room before it closes. It’s about the size of a small house and also includes great views. If you’ve got the time and the appetite, we’d recommend going to the famed barbeque spot, The Pit Stop, located just a few minutes away in the neighboring town of Aldie.
23876 Champe Ford Road
Middleburg, VA 20117
No matter which winery you choose, we hope you take advantage of the good weather and enjoy refreshing wine in one of Northern Virginia’s emerging wineries. You’ll enjoy soaking up all each spot has to offer.