Last Updated on December 22, 2018 by Maggie McKneely
Looking for the best wineries in northern VA to visit in the winter? Here are my top 5 suggestions!
Wineries in Northern Virginia
I’m not entirely sure how I ever got into wine tasting. It could have been the stresses of attending a college made for overachievers, my involvement in politics, or the fact that I’m just a natural foodie. Whatever the reason, I have 100% adopted wine-tasting as a hobby. So much so that after graduation, I got a part-time job working in a tasting room. One of the major perks of that job is that I get free wine tastings at every Virginia winery I visit, and anyone who goes with me usually gets a discount. Some wineries even give them their tasting for free too. She’d never say so, but I know that that free-winery-visit thing is the real reason my mom tags along on adventures with me.
However, I know most people can’t just pop into a tasting room and demand free wine. You need to be a little more judicious about what vineyard gets your time and money. Fortunately, I’ve done the oh-so-difficult work for you of sampling what the wineries in Northern VA have to offer.
But here in Virginia’s Wine Country, we face a challenge that our vino-loving friends in Napa and Tuscany and other, more moderate wine growing districts do not. Here in Virginia, winter is as it should be: cold (except for those random 70 degree days, but let’s be honest, that’s typical Virginia too.)
In warmer months, there is no place better than the outdoor patios at one of Loudoun County’s 58 wineries. Many a Sunday has found me with a glass of White Merlot under the trumpet-vine covered arbor at Hillsborough, absorbed in a book while honeybees provide that background summertime buzz as they work from bloom to bloom.
But what to do right now, when summer is still far out on the horizon? When you can’t sit out on a patio and sip your wine without twenty blankets and a fire pit? Many of our local wineries in northern VA capitalize on the natural beauty of Loudoun County and are best enjoyed when it’s more than 10 degrees out. But your resident wine snob is here with recommendations on wineries in northern VA to visit on days when you need to scrape ice off your windshield.
Best wineries in Northern VA to visit in the winter:
1) Creeks Edge Winery– Situated on the banks of Catoctin Creek, Creeks Edge Winery is the exemplar of rustic elegance. Polished hardwood flooring, hand-cut wooden tables, stone facades, and a roaring central fireplace make this the perfect setting for a snowy afternoon. In addition to a selection of warming red wines (such as my favorite, the 2015 Petit Verdot Reserve), they also have an extensive food menu, featuring flatbread pizzas, a plethora of sandwiches, and a variety of smaller bites!
Hours: Friday-Saturday: 11-9PM, Sunday: 11-8PM
Tasting: There are 3 different tasting options, depending on how much wine you want to taste. $8 for 5 wines, $11 for 8, and $13 for 11!
2) Lost Creek Winery – Lost Creek Winery is part restaurant, part winery which, if you love food as much as I do, is a major plus. The culinary experience here is just as important as the wine tasting, which makes them stand out from the other wineries in northern VA. Their farm-to-table menu changes seasonally, and you can order a flight to pair perfectly with your meal. So take your glass of 2015 Genesis and claim a table by the fireplace, order a bowl of seafood risotto, and enjoy not freezing your fingers off outside.
Hours: Monday &Thursday-Friday: 12-5PM, Saturday-Sunday: 11-5PM
Tastings: A basic tasting is $15 for 7 wines, but they have a number of other options (including wine and food pairing tastings), so be sure to check out their website before you go! Reservations are recommended.
3) Fabbioli Cellars – There’s a good reason why this is one of the most popular wineries in Northern VA, especially for novice wine drinkers. Many of us have heard of the value of pairing food with the right kind of wine, but Fabbioli Cellars is one of the few wineries that actually demonstrates why this is important. Each tasting wine is paired with gourmet food bites that compliment that wine and bring out its unique characteristics. The staff creates a new line-up every month, so you can visit multiple times and always have a different experience. One of the winter selections was the Zinfandel paired with a Spiced Turkey Meatball and Sicilian Gorgonzola Dip on a Beet Crisp – that is sure to warm your taste buds. If not, order hot cocoa made with their Raspberry Merlot – yum!
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 11-5PM
Tastings: $15 for 7 wines and food bites
4) Hillsborough Vineyards – As I already mentioned, Hillsborough Vineyards is an incredible place when it’s not frigid outside; it is undoubtedly one of the best wineries in northern VA for a great view. The tasting room is situated on top of a hill overlooking the valley between the Short Hill Mountains and Catoctin Ridge. But it’s an equally stellar destination for this time of year too. Their stone tasting room, originally built in the 1840’s, has a homey, farmhouse-style vibe. The yellow painted walls, cream-colored tables, and colonial blue décor provide a cheery interior when the weather is less so. A seated tasting conducted by one of their knowledgeable and entertaining hosts is an excellent way to celebrate the national holiday. And, they recently opened a brewery as well – that way, if you’re more into wine but your tasting partner prefers a brew, you’ll both be happy with a trip to Hillsborough.
Hours: Friday-Monday: 11-5PM
Tastings: They offer both beer and wine tasting flights, for between $8 and $15. For wine, you get 2 oz. pours of 3 wines. For beer, you get 5 tastes.
5) Orchid Cellars –It’s not located in northern VA, but I couldn’t leave it off this list. Orchid Cellars is both a winery and a meadery in Middletown, Maryland, about 30 minutes from Leesburg. Built in 2015, the Lincoln Logs-style tasting room provides a respite from wintry conditions outdoors. If you’ve never tried mead before, nothing will lift the spirits during a polar vortex like fermented honey, a.k.a mead. And to make things even fierier, they offer a line of meads infused with the hottest peppers in the world. My mouth is still recovering.
Hours: Friday-Sunday: 12-5PM
Tastings: $7 for 6 tastings and a souvenir glass
With that list, you should be set to properly celebrate the holidays or any time when the weather is drab and dreary! So pick a winery, grab some friends, and enjoy some Virginia vino!
Got questions about visiting wineries in northern VA? Need a friend to go with you so that you too can get a discount? 😉 Let me know in the comments or send me an email!
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