Choosing Fauquier County wineries to visit
This October marks my tenth year of living here in the great Commonwealth of Virginia and my first anniversary as a Fauquier County resident. It was indeed the wine business that brought me (and my family) here; little did I know or imagine that both my wine and winery discoveries had truly yet to reveal themselves. I’ve had the great fortune and pleasure of writing about the wines and wineries of Virginia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley, through Monticello and the southern inlands; and with over 300 wineries to choose from, there’s plenty for wine lovers to enjoy…I know I have.
One great and common thread found in many of the wineries throughout Virginia is the diversity of offerings that extend beyond the viticulture and vinifying of wine. This is certainly true of the 20-plus wineries that are located in Fauquier County.
So, in celebration of Virginia Wine Month, I’ll share with you what I’ve found to be some of the best additional winery features that complement not only their wine-consuming experience, but the overall adventure that comes with any given visit.
There’s nothing like a great locally brewed beer. Wait, what? Beer?!
If you’d like to hit a local winery, but suddenly find yourself longing more for a cold brew, then you must visit Three Fox Vineyard & Brewery. Located high on a bluff, off Highway 17 North in Delaplane, TFV&B offers up an assortment of IPAs, a cool Kettle Sour and a killer Dry Irish Stout. Brewer Richard Thompson is a master craftsman, wholly committed to the purity of any given style of beer he’s producing. Of course, TFV & B grows grapes and makes wine, and you should definitely try their wonderful array of vino; that said, they’ll tell you, “We have set out to blur the lines between beer and wine. We are innovating and cultivating new fermentation styles and having a lot of fun along the way!”
They’re not kidding.
If you’re looking to tap your toes with some great live music, then groove on out I-66W to Markham and spend an afternoon at Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards. Owners Randy and Meagan Morgan purchased the bucolic 41-acre property in 2010, though the vineyard origins date back to 1976. A solid line-up of Bordeaux inspired wines, plus a terrific Villard Noir, go down easy when you’re sitting on the deck, enjoying some solo acoustic and small band performances from many of our area’s talented local musicians. Music in the Blue Ridge mountainside, along with great wine and food of course, makes Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards motto – Good Wine, Good Tunes, Good Times – the perfect caption to describe a great getaway.
Speaking of getting away, sometimes you don’t have to travel the full distance to get to where you’re going. For Morais Vineyards & Winery, in Bealeton, that idea has come to fruition with Aroma, an off-site, stand-alone tasting room. There are two of these wonderful venues, one in old town Manassas and the other in the heart of Haymarket. A full-service experience, Aroma offers all Morais’s great wines in flights, bottles, glasses and of course, their on-site customer favorite slushies. As for food, assorted cheeses, charcuterie and crackers are also available. Steeped in their Portuguese roots, the Morais family opened their winery in 2011 and offer a very unique wine experience, with distinctly Portuguese inspired wines such as a Vihno Verde, made from the Portuguese Albarino Varietal and bottling the famous red grape, Touriga Nacional. Having additional tasting rooms available to enjoy these wines makes a visit to their beautiful winery even more of a special occasion.
Richard Hemming, a WSET Master of Wine, once wrote, Wine was made long before science could explain it. So, wine can live without science, but not art.
As a wine lover, writer and musician, as well as being the son of a painter, I’ve always looked for the art in every glass of wine I’ve ever held. If this resonates with you, then you must visit Arterra Wines and Hawkmoth Arts Studio and Gallery. Sitting on 75 acres and tucked in the forestry shadows of Lost Mountain and Crooked Run Valley, in Delaplane, Arterra’s creed is Art of the Land. Owners Jason Murray (winemaker) and Sandy Gray-Murray (resident artist) offer up one of the most compelling winery experiences around. The wine side of the business is as minimalist as you can want, with vineyard and cellar coming together in a singular focus…native yeasts, neutral oak and a no additives nor concentration manipulations policy all contribute to the clarity and purity of Bordeaux-inspired reds and Burgundy & Rhone inspired whites. As for Hawkmoth Arts Studio and Gallery, Gray-Murray offers a dizzying collection of wine and vineartwork. There are classes, events and experiences for all willing participants who are drawn to both wine enjoyment and art creation…no experience is required, everyone is welcomed. A trip to Arterra Wines and Hawkmoth Arts Studio and Gallery will absolutely affirm that Hemming was right.
As I stated, there are 20-plus wineries throughout Fauquier County. And while I’ve highlighted just a few here that stand out for their own uniqueness, I’d be remiss in not giving a big shout out to the following wineries below, very honorable mentions if you will, which also offer their own unique and exciting experiences…
If you’re looking for a romantic, adult-only (21 and over) winery, then Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint Winery and Vineyard (Markham), Delaplane Cellars (Delaplane), RdV Vineyards (Delaplane) and Pearmund Cellars (Broad Run) are all must-visits. Numerous award-winning wines with private tastings, impressive culinary options (including wine dinners), and stunning views make each of these four beautiful wineries the choice spot for a romantic escape.
For a fun-filled, family-friendly day at the winery, Aspen Dale Winery and Barrel Oak Winery, both in Delaplane, are great places for the kids! Outdoor games, frisbees, footballs and cornhole are all welcomed at ADW, while BOW has a scavenger hunt, dirt piles and all kids get free juice boxes. In addition, BOW has a pizza kitchen on site.
History buffs will love Philip Carter Winery, in Hume. The Carter Family legacy reaches back almost 260 years, and they are often recognized as the first makers of fine wine in Virginia. It was Charles Carter, who, in 1762, sent the London Society for the Encouragement of the Arts a dozen bottles of his Virginia wine. Visit PCW and discover Virginia wine history.
And finally, no winery visit would be truly complete, at least for some, if they couldn’t take their dog! The pet-friendly kudos awards go to Barrel Oak Winery (for leashed pets) and Three Fox Vineyard, (where your well-behaved dog can run off leash). As for BOW, they have plenty of dog treats for your pooch…If you can’t go wine-ing without your dog, try these two options.
So, as you fall into Autumn, visit the great wineries of Fauquier County and reach beyond the glass for the complete experience…it’s those experiences that keep us all coming back.
Until next time, Happy Vino-ing!