Escape from the city to the quiet elegance of Veramar Vineyard, a 100-acre private estate in the heart of Virginia’s wine country. Sip award-winning wines and listen to music on our Fountain Courtyard while surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains! The winery is open year round.
For Denise and John Wilkerson, owning a vineyard had always been a shared dream, but not one they thought would ever be realized. Wandering through the French regions of Dijon and Bordeaux on their honeymoon, the two sampled myriad wines and mustards, refining their palates and developing an appreciation for wine-dipped mustard sandwiches. Back in the states, the two tried their hand at cattle farming before making a dramatic decision: they'd sell the cattle, work on beautifying their 20 acres of land, and find a sunny patch of earth to plant those first few rows of wine grapes.
Today, the two curate tastings of their award-winning wines in a renovated barn, where barrels have been re-purposed into tables, and grapes have been re-purposed as alcohol. Through open doors, the rustic tasting room looks out over the Wilkersons' 20 acres, which are populated by rows of grapes and the lush undergrowth of native plants.
As guests walk into 49 West, they encounter exposed brick and open bookcases under soft and natural lighting, all of which come together to foster a cozy atmosphere for dining, sipping coffee, or socializing. Created in the style of European restaurant-cafés, guests come to casually dine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or to check out hanging artwork from the brushes of a monthly rotating local artist. The staff serves cups of coffee, lattes, and spiked coffee drinks all day alongside carefully crafted dishes of steamed scrambled eggs, homemade scones and muffins, and sandwiches. At dinner, they pour martinis, wines, bourbons, and cognacs to complement the chef’s seafood, chicken, and vegetable entrees. As patrons savor their bites, the melodies from jazz groups playing nightly set the evening’s rhythm.
St. Michaels Winery began its life in the Historic Old Mill complex, where it kicked off 2005 by introducing five new wines to the world. Shortly after, the awards began to roll in: golds, silvers, and bronzes from the Maryland Governors Cup and the Maryland Winemasters Choice Awards. Today, these industrious vintners offer sips and nibbles on a walk-in basis in their expansive, bright white and blue winery and tasting bar, amply stocked with 20 different varietals.
The Fair Hill shopping center doesn't look like wine country from the outside, but judging by the steady stream of freshly corked bottles that pass through The Winery at Olney's doors, looks are certainly deceiving. Despite its unorthodox location, the winery maintains close ties with global winemaking hot spots; instead of growing its own grapes in spare tanning beds, the staff sources varietals from locations as far away as California, Chile, and France. The winemakers take over from there and ferment the juice, rack the barrels, and bottle more than 25 different wines onsite.
Thanks to this exhaustive work, The Winery at Olney has a bottle for virtually every palate. The chardonnay's tropical and citrusy notes give way to an oak-tinged finished, and the zinfandel's hints of spice add balance to the luscious flavors of ripe blackberries. In addition to these single-varietal options, the winery also blends complementary fruits into some of its wines to form hybrid creations, including green-apple riesling and cranberry shiraz.
With all of these options to consider, the task of choosing the right wine might seem daunting. The Winery at Olney’s staffers help beginners define their palates with the store’s U-Vint section. With the helpful guidance of a winery expert, visitors can make their own wine by selecting a varietal and then adding water and yeast to the grapes. The mix then spends 30–40 days fermenting and settling while the winery's team helps by racking and filtering the juice. Customers then return to apply custom labels and foil capsules to 28–30 bottles of their personalized wine.
Though some of Virginia Wine Tours’ staffers swear by Argentinean Malbecs and others favor New Zealand Rieslings, one thing’s certain: they’re all passionate about Northern Virginian wines. These aficionados conduct tours through a sweeping array of vineyards across the region, including the intimate Bluemont Vineyard in Loudon County, the sprawling Gray Ghost Vineyard in Rappahannock County, and the mountainside Naked Mountain Winery in Fauquier County. During these full- and half-day trips, they enlighten groups with local area viniculture facts and anecdotes, as well as encourage them to mix and mingle amongst their fellow wine enthusiasts. Virginia Wine Tours provides tour groups with transportation to and from wineries, sparing customers the inconvenience of having to worry about parking their cars or mastering the art of vehicle levitation.