Jerry Bailey began homebrewing with friends in 1989, hopeful that the craft would bring fulfillment that his 9-to-5 failed to provide. Fulfillment it brought, along with numerous batches of tasty brew. Bailey couldn’t keep his inventions to himself; he quickly decided to open his own brewhouse as well as distribute his goods to other local establishments.
Today, Bailey proudly stands at the helm of both Old Dominion Brewhouse and Old Dominion Brewing Company. In the pub, chefs add variety to liquid meals with food such as burgers, crab cakes, and thin-crust pizzas while 30 flat-screen televisions keep patrons entertained with sports. The chefs also exhibit flair for Asian cuisine, slicing and rolling sushi and offering create-your-own mongolian stir-fries. At the bar, eight handles remain perpetually reserved for Old Dominion's craft beers, such as the award-winning Baltic porter and the Oak Barrel stout, which is loaded with flavors of vanilla and the color brown.
The vintners at Vint Hill Winery craft nuanced wines out of ripe fruit plucked from California, Washington, and Virginia. Tint your taste buds with two flights of wine per person while lounging on the balcony, which overlooks a barn that was used to intercept messages during WWII and shelter stray cats in 1991. Vint Hill sends sommeliers on their way with a bottle of french-oak barrel-fermented 2008 chardonnay and a 2008 merlot—an herbaceous red with harmonious notes of wild fruit, tobacco, and black pepper. Adopted quaffs may be sipped from the provided, decorative wine glasses or poured down the gullet of a timid schooner before its maiden voyage.
Louis Papadopoulos discovered his passion for classic winemaking in 1961 in a centuries-old vineyard outside of Athens, Greece. His first barrels—a red inspired by the mythical homeland of Hercules and an Athenian white that has been made for thousands of years—inspired him to found his own vineyard on a 40-acre farm in Corinth, where grapes flourished alongside orange and apricot groves. When his family relocated to Northern Virginia in 1984, Louis left his farm behind, but he continued to practice Old World winemaking techniques.
Today, the Papadopoulos family shares their love of wines at Mediterranean Cellars Winery, where guests can tour their rolling hills lined with rows of twisting vines heavy with grapes or enjoy glasses on the picturesque patio. Their selection covers a wide range of Old World varietals and regional specialties. The Rechina evokes traditional Greek dinner wine, the Chambourcin uses 100% Virginia-grown grapes to make a full-bodied red, and the limited-release Calypso rose treats palates to a finish far smoother than Odysseus’ departure from her island.
On the 250-acre campus of Great Meadow, about 40 local winemakers set up tents to show off a harvest that has been years in the making. At the entrance of the Virginia Wine Festival, you can pick up your souvenir glass, stop by one of the booths for a tasting, and then take home your favorite varietals by the bottle or case. Complimentary wine seminars are held throughout the day, featuring visits from renowned chefs, tutorials on judging wines, and tips for choosing the correct glass for a given wine, such as throwing two glasses against the wall and seeing which one doesn't break.
Area musicians including Jr. Cline and the Recliners, Johnny and the Headhunters, Inner Rhythm Quartet, and Glory on the Floor play folk, R&B, and jazz throughout the day, while artisans of handmade products show off their wares. At the Family Tent, Becki the Balloon Lady makes balloon animals for the kiddies.
With more than 20 acres full of witchcraft and demonry, the Fields of Fear at Cox Farms invite brave but foolish souls to journey through ominous cornfields on a dark and ill-omened night. Take a tour of the poltergeist-plagued fields with the Dark Side Hayride, where you'll hopefully (but doubtfully) escape the alien infestation, the maniacal trolls, and the horrors that await in the fear barn. Survivors can venture into the Cornnightmare, where a supernatural parade of mischievous spirits shocks and scares in the haunted library, the hall of whispers, and the bug room. Finally, head to the Firegrounds to flee down the giant torch-lit slide, watch the fire-wielding performer, or hang out at the bonfire and think about dinosaurs.
Some men are wedded to whiskey; others will swear by a well-crafted gin cocktail. For Red Rocks Cafe & Tequila Bar owner Robert Evans, however, it’s all about tequila. The agave aficionado keeps his watering hole packed with more than 100 different varieties of tequila, from go-tos such as Jose Cuervo Gold to top-shelf varieties such as Herradura Seleccion Suprema. His bartenders blend these tequilas into a variety of specialty margaritas, including the restaurant’s popular Jimmy Buffett—a sweet mix of coconut, orange juice, and lime.
As bartenders dole out red salt-rimmed glasses of tequila and pints of draft beers, chefs are equally hard at work in the kitchen. They fold fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables into a variety of imaginative Tex-Mex dishes, packing fajitas with barbecue pulled pork, topping tacos in chipotle-infused sour cream, and dousing chicken wings in a serrano chile pepper sauce.
After meals, diners can stick around to play card games and Golden Tee.