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.
Like a United Nations of varietals, some of the world’s tastiest wines from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Italy, and France are well-represented within Jackie’s Wine Bar. Connoisseurs savor the unique notes of each pour while investigating the black-framed pictures on Jackie’s coffee-colored walls and the shelves of wine bottles that vie for attention behind the bar by wearing chic designer labels. On Thursday evenings, free salsa lessons invite patrons to set down their glasses and grab their dance partner’s hand; Saturday nights feature live bands that serve dulcet melodies as aromatic bouquets serenade olfactory receptors. Fresh air courses through Jackie’s outdoor patio, where visitors can alternate between sips of wine or beer and bites of sandwiches, desserts, and appetizers.
Crush Kitchen & Winehouse
In addition to its elegant, warmly decorated lounge and hand-selected stock of wine, Crush Kitchen doubles as an intimate gathering place—a place that lets groups connect over small plates and test pairing tips doled out by knowledgeable servers. The wine list features premium, uncommon wines crafted by small producers from around the world, and wine-tasting events give patrons a chance to learn about pinot noir or American varietals from wine experts. Crush also makes all of its breads, dressings, desserts, and soups in-house everyday, and daily specials encourage patrons to try out new dishes.
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, carries on the family tradition of pouring fine wines in welcoming surroundings. A carefully curated selection of bottles—with an emphasis placed on wines—pairs with brunch, lunch, and dinner menus of New American cuisine. The wait staff offers insight so guests can perfectly match their meals of pan-seared duck breast with a red wine cherry sauce, grass-fed burgers, or seasonal risotto, and wine experts provide in-depth information in curated tasting events.
The Chesapeake Bay Wine Festival is a scenic tasting space for fledging and seasoned oenophiles eager to sip a succulent selection of global wines. Over the course of two days, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of Chesapeake Bay while tasting locally fermented elixirs from Mark Cascia Vineyards, St. Michaels Winery, Layton's Chance Winery, and more. In addition to arts and crafts displays, each day of the festival plays host to live musical entertainment—attend on May 14 and engage wine-soaked senses in the roadhouse rhythms of Chris Sacks Band or the funk-pop grooves of Sweet Leda. On May 15, get belted with the rocking blues backlash of Uncle and the R&B riffs of Big Daddy Stallings.
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.
Praised by the Washington Post as "undoubtedly the most stylish gathering spot in the Maryland suburbs," Ranazul's chic, comfortable interior sets the tone for shared plates and conversation over bottles of wine. Traditional cold tapas arrive at tables during dinner as slabs of raw salmon over seasoned avocado and briny seaweed, or tender, pan-seared scallops surrounded by potatoes, spring vegetables, and crab meat. Meals are paired with selections from a wine list replete with more than 220 bottles and 32 options by the glass, from light, sparkling prosecco to sustainably-farmed pinot noir from New Zealand.