Wine tasting in NOVA?
July 20, 2007 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any suggestions for wine tasting in Northern Virginia?

My SO and I would like to learn more about wine and find out what wines we would like. But we know nothing about wine. We figure a wine tasting somewhere would help us wine n00bs out.

Where in the Northern Virginia area (or within a reasonable drive) would you recommend for wine tasting for n00bs? Where does one even go for this? Wine stores or vineyards or both? How much does this thing typically cost to do?
posted by fallenposters to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You're just around the corner from a number of wineries. Both Tarara and Veramar are just off Rt 7, West of Leesburg. Most wineries have tasting rooms and allow you to sample their selections for a nominal fee. You'll have the opportunity to ask lots of questions about what you are tasting and learn about the wine making process. In mid-September is the Virginia Wine Festival in Leesburg. The majority of the state's wineries will be represented and tasting is highly encouraged.

posted by onhazier at 5:42 AM on July 20, 2007

Here's a Wash. Post article on Virginia wineries and one on Maryland wineries.

Also, you may find other specific recommendations by searching the archives of the weekly Got Plans Q/A. For example, in there I found a link to Virginia Wine Country Tours.
posted by inigo2 at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2007

My parents had a great time at Tarara when they visited me for Christmas 2 years ago, and they have a rep locally (Loudoun County) for being friendly and fun (Tarara, not my parents). There are quite a few wineries west of DC.

Further afield, if you want to make a weekend out of it, there are a number of good wineries in the Charlottesville area, as well. Barboursville (crowded on weekends) and Kluge are probably the most famous, but a number of the smaller wineries are excellent and you can get more time with the experts/winemakers/families.

You might be interested in these blogs focusing on Virginia wines and wineries: Virginia Wine Time and VineSpot - both talk about visiting specific wineries.
posted by julen at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2007

One place to try is Whole Foods in Farifax. I've never done it, but they say they have 80 wines you can sample. You have to pay to do it and the prices vary depending on the expense of the bottle.
posted by peeedro at 6:42 AM on July 20, 2007

The Wegmans stores (in Sterling and Fairfax) both have free wine tastings every Saturday. They're pretty good, but my favorite (free!) wine tastings are at The Wine Cabinet in Reston, every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

I suggest going to a wine store such as these instead of to a winery. Since you're new to wine, you should go somewhere where you can try wines from different parts of the world at once, and aren't restricted to just one vineyard.
posted by cerebus19 at 7:40 AM on July 20, 2007

Where exactly in NOVA? Fredericksburg tries hard to not be part of NOVA, but a wine shop here does a periodic Wine 101 seminar It is a 2 hour class where you get to sample about 6 different wines s you learn about the differences in grapes and growing regions, etc. It's only $15 a person, and actually makes a great date with the SO. My wife and I did it a few months ago.

The shop in Fburg is Kybecca. If Fburg is too far for you maybe somebody is doing something similar in Dulles / RT area.
posted by COD at 7:47 AM on July 20, 2007

If you want to try it at a store, one I hear recommended a lot is Best Cellars. There's one in Arlington (Clarendon) and one in DC (Dupont).
posted by inigo2 at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2007

I've recently fallen in love with TasteDC, and I highly recommend any of their events. They're a bit pricey, but the folks there really know their stuff, and they aren't at all snooty about it--I've felt like they honestly want me to share their enthusiasm for the subject.

If a winery visit is what you want, I blogged minireviews of several a few years ago. I never felt like I got much of an education at any of them, though--it's more marketing. You'll have fun, at least, and won't spend much money. I've not been particularly impressed with Virginia wines, but others are.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:47 AM on July 20, 2007

Planet Wine (Associated with the Tallula restaurant) in Arlington hosts elaborate wine tastings. The one we went to featured dozens of wines, grouped by country of origin and served with samples of food selected to complement the drink. We found several wines we really enjoyed (and learned to avaoid anything from Spain). There's an entrance fee, but we enjoyed the event enough to be planning our return.
posted by NortonDC at 12:56 PM on July 20, 2007

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