Raise Your Glass: 3 Days Exploring DC’s Wine Country®

Photo Courtesy of Visit Loudoun.

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Get ready to sip and savor some of the finest wines the East Coast has to offer as you embark on a three-day adventure in Loudoun’s picturesque wine country. Just 25 miles west of Washington, D.C., this region is home to more than 50 award-winning wineries.

From sampling reds and whites in a quaint tasting room to scenic drives through the rolling hills and river valleys, this three-day itinerary will maximize your time in DC’s Wine Country.

Getting to Loudoun County

For a short drive to the first winery on your trip, fly into Dulles International Airport in Eastern Loudoun County. Most travelers choose to rent a car; just make sure someone is always acting as the designated driver. If you’re already in D.C. and simply looking for a few peaceful days away from the city, the Metro train now offers a route to Loudoun.

Day 1: The Wineries of Middleburg & Leesburg

Kick off your tour of Loudoun County at Old Farm Winery at Hartland in Aldie. This idyllic farm boasts a beautifully renovated 18th-century farmhouse, a historic barn and newly-planted vines. Bring your tasting flight to the outdoor seating area to bask in the Virginia sun. 

Not far away in Middleburg, 50 West Vineyards is perched on a hilltop with stunning views of the Bull Run Mountain range. Sit on the Vineyard View Patio to take in the sites of the vines and the mountains beyond. It’s old-meets-new here, with old-world winemaking methods and new-world Virginia grapes.

Enjoy a different view at Boxwood Estate Winery, just six miles down the road. The Cave Tasting Experience includes five wines in a subterranean cave surrounded by French Oak barrels. The award-winning reds and whites here are made in the Bordeaux style with an eye to sustainability.

Bonus Stop: Take a break from the wine at Middleburg’s Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery. Sip their small-batch dry cider made from local apples at The Cider Barn just outside of town. Or build a flight of brandies, agaves, whiskey or gins at the distillery in downtown Middleburg.

Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, Virginia. Photo Courtesy of Visit Loudoun.

Your next stops take you north to Leesburg and the surrounding countryside. At Stone Tower Winery, sample the sweet Riesling or earthy Cabernet Franc with fantastic views of the mountains from the Harvest Barn Tasting Room.  Come hungry—this is an ideal lunch stop with a hearty menu of sandwiches, pizzas and more.

Just a few minutes up the road, Zephaniah Farm Vineyard is a fourth-generation dairy farm that expanded into grapes in 2002. The 1819 brick farmhouse and timber-framed barn are set in the lush green countryside, and you may spot sheep and cattle while you’re sampling your rosé or red blend. 

Bonus Stop: Leesburg’s Capital Hive Meadery specializes in mead, a honey-derived fermented drink often made with fruits, spices and other flavors. On warm days, try their refreshing mead slushies! 

At the end of your first day in Loudoun, spend the night in one of Leesburg’s charming historic bed and breakfasts. You’ll start Day Two just 20 minutes from your first vineyard stop.

Day 2: The Wineries of the Potomac & Waterford

Veteran-owned Bleu Frog Vineyards makes wine for a cause, supporting organizations that help  Gold Star families. On the vines, you’ll find some less-common grapes like Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid, and cold-resistant Vidal Blanc. 

A short drive northeast, The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek makes low-intervention wines at their sustainable vineyard. Sample the Burgundy- and Bordeaux-style wines on the dreamy patio shaded with greenery-topped pergolas. Book the Chef’s Tasting & Wine Pairing for a four-course feast! 

Bonus Stop: Just a mile up the road from The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek, Loudoun Cider House makes still, sparkling, traditional and modern blend ciders. Offerings vary based on the time of the year, and tastings are by appointment only! 

The Carriage House Wineworks in Waterford, Virginia. Photo Courtesy of Visit Loudoun.

Next, head west to Waterford to Carriage House Wineworks. Sit on the patio to take in the landscape and enjoy a six-wine flight, from the dry Petit Verdot to the fruity and bright Chambourcin. Come for the wine, but stay for the hospitality! Owners Mike and Gerri love to talk grapes with their guests.

Less than a mile away, Village Winery and Orchards is known for its flavorful apple wine made from homegrown apples. You’ll find the tasting room inside a restored farm building alongside the stainless steel barrels. Before you go, pick up pouches of elderberry syrup or tea mixes, or fresh fruit straight from the orchard.

For your last stop of the day, visit Firefly Cellars in Hamilton. The tasting room at this laid-back, family-owned winery is tucked inside a welcoming red barn. Settle in with a glass of Cabernet, Chardonnay, or a blend. Parties of two can reserve The Cottage onsite for an overnight stay, which includes access to a pool, hot tub and fire pit. For larger groups, there are plenty of comfortable vacation rentals nearby!

Day 3: The Wineries of Loudoun Heights & Snickers Gap

Start the final day of your Loudoun County adventure at Doukénie Winery in Hillsboro. Located on 365 acres, you can enjoy gorgeous views of Short Hill Mountain while sampling red and white wines derived from a mix of European and hybrid grapes.

A few minutes down the road, small-batch wines and quality craft beer attract visitors to Hillsborough Winery & Brewery. Relax in the rustic farm setting and sample wine and beer flights in the charming tasting room. If you visit on the weekends, pair your wine with delectable bites from the kitchen, such as Mediterranean flatbreads or craft cheese boards served with warm baguettes.

The 868 Estate Vineyards in Hillsboro, Virginia. Photo Courtesy of Visit Loudoun.

There’s plenty of room to spread out at 868 Estate Vineyards – 120 acres of vines and majestic sycamore trees make this one of the prettiest vineyards in Hillsboro. Picnics are welcome on the large lawn, or you can order casual fare from the menu, like nachos or a giant pretzel to accompany your tasting flight. 

Less than five minutes away, Two Twisted Posts Winery is doing things its own way. Their eco-friendly minimalist approach to winemaking lets the grapes speak for themselves. Oak fans have to try the Chardonnay, which has won multiple awards. Weekend afternoons offer regular live music! 

A visit to Good Spirit Farm in Round Hill is a must in the summer and early fall. Seasonal flower fields burst with color on hills overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Take it all in from the smart tasting room while you sample the latest vintages.

For your last winery stop, sip on crisp whites and bold reds at Williams Gap Vineyard in Round Hill. Family-owned and operated, the winery utilizes sustainable farming practices to produce small-batch, handcrafted wines that showcase the region. Reserve a table in the elegant and brightly-lit tasting room with views of the rolling hills, or enjoy a game of cornhole while exploring the 200-acre farm.

A view of Williams Gap Vineyard. Photo Courtesy of Williams Gap Vineyard.

Bonus Stops: On your way back to Dulles or Washington, D.C., make a couple of final stops. In a historic building in downtown Purcellville, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company offers organic, kosher spirits made from locally sourced ingredients. Take a tour and sample a flight of their whiskeys and brandies.

Finally, stop by Wild Hare Hard Cider as you travel through Leesburg. Try unique flavors like the Saxby, made with Shenandoah Valley apples, ginger and lime peel.  Their Leesburg location is in an 1840s log cabin!

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