Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Wining’ is ok at Wine Boot Camp

Chocolate wine pairing
Chocolate wine pairing

Located in the shadow of the Shenandoah National Park, Little Washington Winery hosts a Wine Boot Camp that is a “must-take” for the novice wine-connoisseur.

Owner, Carl Hendrickson and his wife Donna have been mainstays in the Virginia wine community. The couple enjoys passing on their oenology expertise and wine prowess without the pretentious overtones that many associate with viticulture.

“We started it because on a day trip, our winery is the farthest west from DC. Our staff would sit around until 2 pm until people got out here,” said Carl Hendrickson about his Wine Boot Camp. “We decided to get people out here around 11 a.m. and let them work their way back. It’s been very successful; this spring we will start four classes per weekend.”

Wine Boot Camp is two and a half hours of understanding everything about wine tasting in a “snob free zone.” The Hendrickson’s speak plainly about how do develop your palate, pair meals correctly, appropriate bottle aeration and exactly how to handle the cork when your waiter presents it at that uber-fancy restaurant. The class includes plenty of wine, a great sandwich pairing, super chocolate tastings, a thorough class on dessert wines and a really “cool” diploma.

“I learned a ton at Wine Boot Camp and it was an incredibly fun class,” said Chris Benoit from Triangle, VA. “The instructors were interesting, entertaining and made me feel at ease with tasting and understanding wine.”

Additionally, “boot campers” enjoy a Dirt Road Wine Tour, which not only highlights the Little Washington Winery vintages but also wines from all over the world. The Hendrickson’s employ a “traveling sommelier” who procures regional wines at the end of the world’s dirt roads. Each weekend the wine-tasting offering is different as you will enjoy vintages from Australia to Africa and any farm-winery in between.

Washingtonian Magazine says that Wine Boot Camp is “one of the top wine events in the Virginia Wine Country.”

Carl Hendrickson
Carl Hendrickson

The Hendrickson’s opened their winery in 2011 and have earned some incredible accolades such as Virginia’s best red wine – George. Their winery is the second best picnic spot in Virginia and Little Washington Winery’s Shenandoah Steel Chardonnay ranks third among Virginia white wines!

Located on 72 Christmas Tree Lane in Washington, Va., the address even lends a sense of celebration to their vineyard. Open from Thursday to Monday, you can attend not only the Wine Boot Camp but the Hendrickson’s offer a variety of unique wine classes such as “Cheeseology,” “Desserts and Wines,” “Wines of the World,” and “Triple Threat Choco-Cheese Wine Pairing.” Each event is available through online registration at www.littlewashingtonwinery.com.

Enjoy a day in the country about ninety minutes from Washington, DC by taking a wine class and then use your new found knowledge as you visit the neighborhood wineries. Complete the afternoon by pairing your favorite vintage at one of the fabulous local restaurants.

And don’t forget that Donna Hendrickson reminds her “boot campers,” that it isn’t always how the wine tastes but what you do with your mouth before you drink a glass.

Written by: Carl S. Ey

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