Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Don’t Be So Serious…….It’s Just Wine

By Nancy Bauer

Don’t Be So Serious……It’s just wine

Who cares if you drink your whites too cold, can’t taste the peach in a Viognier, or didn’t know that Meritage is actually supposed to rhyme with heritage?

Wine can be a fascinating journey, but it doesn’t always have to be an epic quest. Sometimes, it can just be a rollicking bump in the road. Don’t forget: were it not for Boone’s Farm Tickle Pink, many wine snobs wouldn’t be drinking Provençal rosé today.

February has two great chances to have some fun with local wine: Valentine’s Day, and the long Presidents’ Day weekend, which is perfect for a quick wine getaway.

Instead of the typical flutes of French sparkling for Valentine’s Day, how about something a little different? Most local wineries are happy to ship.

The new Effingham Manor Winery in Nokesville has a beautiful rosé sparkling wine made from Pinot Noir grapes. In Leesburg, Casanel Vineyards offers a bubbly called Red Spark, made with estate grown Norton, Virginia’s native grape. And Paradise Springs in Clifton sells a fun Pineapple Sparkling, made in the style of Champagne, from Maui pineapples. Traditionalists will appreciate the Blanc de Blancs from Greenhill Vineyards in Middleburg.

How about an apple wine for the apple of your eye? (Just don’t write that on the card.) North Gate Vineyards in Purcellville and Chateau O’Brien in Markham both have excellent apples wines. In Delaplane, one of our favorite hidden gems, Arterra Wines, has a Blueberry Apple Wine, and Village Winery in Waterford mixes apples with elderberry, along with several non-alcoholic elderberry-based beverages.

This weekend’s musician is taking a break between sets (in the tasting room at Delaplane Cellars — HDR image).

Serious wine drinkers may leave the room in dismay if you uncork a chocolate wine, but that’s fine; more for everybody else! Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane sells the popular Chocolate Lab, a Port-style wine of Chambourcin grapes infused with cracked cocoa nibs and aged in oak and whiskey barrels.

And for a little cherry to go along with the chocolate, Hiddencroft Vineyards in Lovettsville has a sweet 100% Montmorency cherry wine. Hiddencroft is known for very good serious (aka dry) wines, but also crafts some of the best fruit wines in the region, including two blueberry wines, Grandpa’s Fantasy port-style and Grandma’s Love Potion Blueberry Wine.

Maybe the most romantic Valentine’s gift would be the gift of a long weekend away from the cold, the crazy political climate, or whatever else ails you.

Plan ahead for a Presidents’ Day getaway. L’Auberge Provencale is a short drive to anything: shopping in Middleburg, hiking at Sky Meadows State Park, the scenery of Skyline Drive, but maybe most importantly, the inn is within 30 miles of two dozen wineries, most in the Delaplane area.

There’s no particular strategy needed for a visit to wineries around Delaplane; throw a dart at a map and you’ll hit one worthy of a visit. Reserve a tour and tasting at RdV Vineyards, a premier winery that does not take walk-ins. Delaplane Cellars has excellent reds and dramatic views from its floor-to-ceiling windows. Chateau O’Brien offers several different tastings, including a private cellar tasting of reserve wines, and tasty hot sandwiches and grilled flatbreads to enjoy on a large covered deck. In nearby Hume, Philip Carter Winery has interesting artifacts displayed that tell of the Carter family’s 250-year history of making wine in Virginia.

Happy visitors enjoy their wine and the firepits distributed around the patio at Barrel Oak Winery (just after sunset during the annual harvest party).

Or, for a more whimsical getaway, head to Barrel Oak Winery for Giant Jenga on Friday night, and then back to Barrel Oak to celebrate National Drink Wine Day on Sunday for a relaxed morning breakfast of bagel and cream cheese with a newspaper (complimentary). Pair breakfast with Barrel Oak’s Mimosas (OJ and Sparkling Wine) or Poinsettias (Cranberry Juice and Sparkling Wine). Live music starts at 1:00.

Sweet, Light, Fruity, Fun

Virginia Wine in My Pocket Readers’ Fun Favorites


Chateau Morrisette Sweet Mountain Apple

Chateau O’Brien Apple Wine

North Gate Vineyards Apple Wine


Hiddencroft Vineyards Blackberry Wine

Hill Top Berry Farm Virginia Blackberry Wine

Magnolia Vineyards Pazzo Blackberry Merlot


Hiddencroft Vineyards Grandpa’s Fantasy port-style

Hiddencroft Vineyards Grandma’s Love Potion Blueberry Wine


Hiddencroft Vineyards Sweet Cherry

Lake Anna Winery Concerto Merlot Cherry Wine

Morais Vineyards Cherry Wine


Barrel Oak Winery Chocolate Lab

Cooper Vineyards Noche

Glass House Winery Meglio del Sesso

Horton Winery Rojo Xoco


Barboursville Vineyards Paxxito (Malvaxia)

Bluestone Vineyards Blue Ice, ice wine from Traminette

Gray Ghost Adieu late harvest Vidal Blanc

King Family Vineyards Loreley Petit Manseng

Rockbridge Vineyards Val d’Or

The Hague Winery Golden Muscat Cynthia


Early Mountain Vineyards Pétillant-Naturel from Syrah

Effingham Manor Winery sparkling rosé from Pinot Noir

Casanel Vineyards Red Spark sparkling Norton    

Mountain Cove Vineyards Skyline White from Villard Blanc

Rappahannock Cellars Fizzy Lizzy Rose’

Fruit Blends

Arterra Wines Apple Blueberry

Notaviva Vineyards Gitano Chambourcin and Pomegranate

Village Winery Apple Elderberry Wine

Cold Weather Wines

Burnley Vineyards Spicy Rivanna, chilled or mulled

Williamsburg Winery Jamestown Cellars Settlers’ Spiced Wine


Mountain Cove Vineyards Harvest Peach

Winery 32 Gloria’s Sunshine


Fabbioli Cellars Pear in the Bottle

Horton Winery Pear Dessert Wine


Fabbioli Cellars Raspberry Merlot and Rosa Nera Black Raspberry

Hill Top Berry Farm Virginia Raspberry Wine


Horton Winery Chateau le Cabin Strawberry with Grenache

Mattaponi Winery Odeimin

Peaks of Otter Winery Reserve Strawberry

The Homeplace Vineyards Cabin Sunset

Unique Wines & More

Cardinal Point Vineyards Hopped Chardonnay

Oak Crest Vineyards Hot Jazz with jalapeno

Peaks of Otter Winery Kiss the Devil pepper wine

Rappahannock Cellars Solera (Vidal Blanc, fractional blending, sun-aged)

Rockbridge Vineyards Jeremiah’s Blush of Concord and Vidal

Sans Soucy Vineyards Ginger Wine, Almond Wine, and Framboise

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