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Jul 26, 2007 11:26 AM

Wine tasting trip

We're visiting DC in a few weeks and we'd like to take a Sunday, rent a car and go wine tasting.

So, 'hounds, Virginia or Maryland, and why?

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  1. Virginia -- much broader and better-quality selection than Maryland. And the countryside (foothills of the Appalachians) is prettier.

    There are numerous smaller wineries about an hour west of the Virginia Beltway, out I-66 towards Front Royal. The Delaplane area has some pretty good ones.

    1. here's a website that will give you a lot of helpful info:

      8 Replies
      1. re: Geoff

        I'd include Barboursville and Horton.

        1. re: Sop

          As a resident of Maryland, and a confirmed wine geek, I will tell you, VIRGINIA. Many more wineries, much better wine, prettier drive.

          1. re: dinwiddie

            OK, I'm sold. We'll taste in the northern part of Virginia (I don't want to head more than an hour or so out).

            Based on this map:

   you all have some winery recommendations? Dinwiddie? Bordeauxfan?

            1. re: SLOLindsay

              'Nother Marylander here, confirming the recommendation that you avoid this state and head over to our neighbor.

              For some reason, that map is missing Linden Winery, which is right near Rappahannock and Oasis (in the southwest corner of your map). Linden has some good whites, but probably more scenery than any of the other places combined. You can buy some local cheeses and have a snack out on their porch with a glass of wine while overlooking some absolutely stunning scenery.


              fwiw, I've been to about a dozen of the wineries on that map; of those, my favorites were probably Windham, Chrysalis, and Linden. Although I like a lot of the Virginia wines, I would say that there's not a lot of great value there (many of the wines are overpiced), but a day trip in Virginia wine country is very enjoyable.

              Although you say you only want to drive an hour, I would recommend taking the back roads instead of 66; otherwise, the point about the scenery being prettier in Virginia is pretty much moot. The interstate is just the same (and ugly) as interstates anywhere else in the country. However, the local highways go through some really lovely scenery.

              1. re: alopez

                Another winery near Linden that isnt on the map is Fox Meadows. We have a friend who works in the tasting room. Its a fairly new place. Nice views from deck.

                For all VA vineyards, just look for signs with a bunch of grapes and they will direct you to various vineyards

              2. re: SLOLindsay

                Second Linden. It's my favorite winery in the Northern area - doesn't allow tour buses, has some rather good whites, and beautiful scenery. You can get cheeses/bread there and eat on the lovely patio, or bring a picnic and eat at the picnic tables on the hill. Also, Naked Mountain is fairly close to Linden and has decent wines and a nice indoor fire on a chilly day if I recall correctly.

                Chyrsalis is a beautiful spot, but some of the worst wines I have ever tasted.

                Pearmund gives one of the best tours you could get, and has some nice wines. When we were there last year, we got a very detailed tour from a pretty amusing guy. Even went so far as to actually stir the vats, let you smell the fermenting wines, and really show you every detail - I've been on lots of tours in Napa that weren't as interesting or well done.

                1. re: SLOLindsay

                  Definitely Barboursville. We stopped there on the way to Charlottesville and had a wonderful 4 course lunch with wine pairings, as well as a free tasting in their store/tasting room immediately after.

                  We also enjoyed Prince Michel Vineyards.

                  These might be a bit out of your 1 hour radius request, but both were great.

                2. re: dinwiddie

                  I am with dinwiddie on this one. I have not tasted many Virginia wines, but, of the ones that I have tasted, they have ALL been better than the Maryland wines I have tasted. And this from a proper native Marylander.


            2. As a Marylander, I admit our southern neighbors have better-tasting wine, but I find Maryland wineries are less "snooty". VA has the taste and scenery, but MD is cheaper and the events they host at the vineyards are less "tasting" and more "drinking".

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fat Italian

                Check out Breaux vineyards on the way to Harper's Ferry. Fantastic scenery and nestled right in the shadow of the Blue Ridge