My favorite weekend activity this fall has been heading to wineries. I celebrated Virginia Wine Month with a fervor – give me a bottle of wine and some cheese, a nice patio, sunshine and a view and I’m pretty close to heaven. I love to escape the city and relax – if you’ve never been I’m here to tell you, it’s as good as a day at the spa. This upcoming weekend is going to be a gorgeous one, they say. And with the fall leaves at their peak, this weekend is an ideal one to head outside the city and experience what the Virginia countryside has to offer. So where should you go? Well, here are some of my favorites from this season for your consideration.
1) Breaux Vineyards. If you’re looking for quality Virginia wine look no further than Breaux. They have a longer tasting menu than most, and three desert wines. The estate is flawless with plenty of seating for groups. They have tables on a patio and then many more spread out around the tasting house. Benches and tables sit throughout the grass near the vines, an area that is perfect for pups. If you’re a Virginia wine skeptic, Breaux is a good place to reconsider. Breaux is located at 36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln., Purcellville, VA 20132 1-800-492-9961
2) Chrysalis Vineyards. Located in Middleburg, I’ve heard people say that Chrysalis is the closest winery to DC. I don’t particularly want to nit-pick, but it’s a little less than an hour away from my house in Arlington. Chrysalis isn’t new, fancy or particularly showy. There’s a small outpost with the wine, and then tasting tables spread across a big lawn overlooking the vineyards. An area for families is fenced in, a pond and cows off in the distance. Dogs wander around the grounds. I particularly like the Sarah’s Patio Red and the 2008 Norton. I always pick up a few bottles for dinner parties or to give as gifts. (Oh, I feel obligated to warn you, there are no bathrooms, they have porta-potties. Ugh. But don’t let that stop you! Really!) Chrysalis is located at 23876 Champe Ford Road, Middleburg, Virginia 20117 540-687-8222.
3) Sunset Hill Vineyard, LLC. A newbie on the scene, this is one of my picks mainly for the cozy tasting room and double-decker outdoor porches. A refurbished old barn, Sunset Hill’s tasting room is gorgeous. If it’s a bit chilly outside, they have indoor seating above the tasting station with picture windows framing rolling hills for the perfect fall vista. For a snack, try the bread and cheese basket – a loaf of sourdough comes warm, wrapped in cloth. Sunset Hill Vineyards is located at 38295 Fremont Overlook Lane, Purcellville Virginia 20132 (540) 882-4560.