Beautiful days have been few and far between this spring, so when the forecast called for a picture perfect Thursday [04/14/2011], I took the day off and headed to Loudoun wine country. Loudoun County is one of the most important and fastest growing wine areas in Virginia and since it’s only an hour and some change away from Washington, DC, it’s often times referred to as DC’s Wine Country.
Breaux Vineyard's Tasting Room
My first stop of the day was to Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, Virginia, where the early blooming trees brightened the green landscape and the vines were showing signs of life. Breaux needs no introduction; they have been producing Loudoun grown wines for over a decade and are one of the state’s largest vineyards. In the tasting room, you will find a wide range of wines made from estate-grown fruit to suit every palate preference. While there, I had a chance to chat with Jennifer Breaux Blosser, Director of Sales and Hospitality. Jen, as most people call her, is always looking for ways to make the customer experience at Breaux Vineyards better. This is probably why Breaux was voted Virginia's favorite winery for three (2008, 2009, 2010) consecutive years. Just recently, Breaux hired a new Cellar Club Manager, Libby Camp, and a new winemaker after having the same wine-grower since opening in 1997. Jen seems very pleased with what the new winemaker brings to the table and is excited about the future of Breaux Vineyard’s wines. If you have not been to Breaux Vineyards, be sure to click on their link at the bottom of this post and get to know these guys.
Wine Tasting at Catoctin Creek Winery
My next stop, also in Purcellville, Virginia, was to Catoctin Creek Winery. After a successful professional career in the banking business, Jim Hanna found success and satisfaction in professional photography -- capturing some of the most beautiful and best kept secrets in Loudoun County. Jim’s latest endeavor, winemaking, captures Loudoun County fruit in the wine bottle. Jim’s operation, based out of his home for the time being, can best be described as a micro-winery. At a little over 100 cases of wine produced in 2009, I believe Catoctin Creek Winery holds the title of being Virginia’s smallest producer. Jim has a few rows of trial vines planted out back, but contends he only wants to make wine. Jim partners up with some of Loudoun County’s top wine growers and the fruit quality shows in his inaugural vintage. Jim’s nicely done 2009 Cabernet Franc just won a gold medal at the Finger Lakes Wine Competition in upstate New York. Jim also offers a refreshing and bright 2009 Vidal Blanc, a supple 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, and a very nice 2009 Syrah that offers scents of briar, white pepper, and boysenberry fruit. Jim is currently in the process of setting up a website and venturing into social media, so the best way to reach him and set up a private tasting and learn more about his Loudoun based operation is via e-mail at email@example.com.
Beautiful Tasting Room at North Gate Vineyard
My last winery stop of the day was to North Gate Vineyards, where Mark and Viki Fedor are literally using sunshine to make wine in their brand new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified tasting room that’s powered by 96 solar panels. While the tasting room is new, the Fedor’s are not newbies to the Loudoun County wine industry. The couple first planted their vineyard in 2001 and was winemakers for Waterford Vineyards (now Corcoran Vineyards), where they produced a solid 2002 vintage and a 2004 Chardonnay that was one of the nicest examples I’ve tasted from Loudoun County. Since growing into their own label in 2006, the Fedor’s have continued to craft good quality wines from Loudoun County fruit and have established a local following from pouring their wines at local farmers markets over the years. The beautiful new tasting room is spacious and offers a relaxing atmosphere for guests to enjoy a glass of wine as well an assortment of local cheeses and meats. Additionally, the new tasting room boasts both an indoor and outdoor fireplace and a small stage for live entertainment. Refer to the links at the end of this post and make a date with North Gate Vineyard soon.
Delicious dinner at Grandale Farm Restaurant
Last stop of the day, actually night, was to Grandale Farm Restaurant in Hillsboro, Virginia. Grandale is a grape’s throw away from Breaux Vineyards and specializes in farm-to-table fine dining. Grandale also has a wide selection of local wine on the tasting menu, so for those wanting to eat and drink local, this is your spot. I enjoyed a delicious lamb rack over pumpkin grits and Swiss chard dish and look forward to returning for lunch and taking in the beautiful views from the deck. Loudoun County is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the city and offers over 25 unique wineries, fine dining establishments, charm-filled historic towns, and quaint and cozy B&B’s and Inns for overnighters. Whether you’re planning a day trip like me or a weekend get-away, check out the Visit Loudoun website to plan your trip to DC’s Wine Country.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come!
CLICK HERE to visit Breaux Vineyard's website.
CLICK HERE to make friends with Catoctin Creek Winery on Facebook.
CLICK HERE to visit North Gate Vineyard's website.
CLICK HERE to visit Grandale Farm Restaurant's website.
CLICK HERE to visit the Visit Loudoun website.
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