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Exploring Virginia Wine Country

Wine-soaked getaway to Virginia

Girlfriend getaways, couples retreat... What better way to spend that time than to hit the spa, tour the local wine region and shop til you drop!

Visiting Loudoun County Virginia, we knew when our plans were to include sampling a few of the 32 wineries in Loudoun County that we were in for a tasty adventure. I was, unfortunately, the designated driver and my samplings were mostly smells and a few chosen selections I luxuriously enjoyed. But the winery stories, the grape creations and the efforts to nurture and build the DC Wine country area (6th largest in the US) were every part as enjoyable as the many, many samplings Julia tried on behalf of the team.

Wine not?

Loudoun County WineriesLoudoun County WineriesThe mountainsides of Virginia host conditions much like that of European wine regions with climate and soil elements well suited to making great wines. Virginia's varietal (types of grapes) selections are different than those of the Finger Lakes Region and the Niagara region just a short 8 hours' drive away, but chosen to suit the attributes of the region. From white varieties like Chardonnays, Petit Manseng, Viognier, Norton and Sauvignon Blanc ... to red's like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot,  Norton and Cabernet Sauvignon. What was a dozen or so wineries in the 90's, has blossomed to a solid representation of what the regions of Loudoun County can produce.

Like grapes picked and grown

Loudoun County Wine TrailLoudoun County Wine TrailTo make your touring of DC's Wine Country Loudoun Wine Trail easier, Loudoun County has broken their wine region into 6 clusters. If you're thinking of planning your next girlfriends getaway, think ahead and have some fun tasting your way through a few of the wineries we visited on our oenophilic day (a big word for wine-induced touring).


Doukenie Winery

Doukenie WineryDoukenie WineryIn the Loudoun Heights Cluster, your entrance to Doukenie Winery begins with a drive past horse pastures and vineyards to the winery and back pond. Their large oak-barrel tasting room showed off their wine selections, the room centering on an antique mandolin that is present on all their labels (you'll have to ask for the story behind the instrument when you visit).

A large, back-windowed area overlooking the pond is available for group dinners or wine club events. At Doukenie, our experience tasted us through a broad selection from whites through the reds. We loved the Cabernet Franc [GoGirlfriend Choice] but we were also intensely interested in their Merlot. Their Elderberry Fruit Wine ... intense!

Doukenie wine tasting roomDoukenie wine tasting roomIf you get a chance, ask to meet Sebastian, the wine master, and hear his story of winemaking from the regions of France through to the Caribbean (yes, Caribbean) to California and finally to the Virginia region ... the ladies seemed to hang on his lingering French accent!

To add Doukenie to your girlfriends tasting adventure, join their Heritage Club for sampling and special events!

Tarara Winery

Tarara WineryTarara WineryOn a scenic drive into the Potomac cluster, Tarara Winery was the larger of the wineries we visited, producing wine for larger Virginia marketplace. Tarara Winery has a sprawling property. The winery itself is perched on the top of a bluff looking towards the Potomac with a breathtaking outdoor seating area.

Enter inside the tasting area (actually in a 6000 sq. ft. cave) you can see the production facilities and the stainless machinery that begins the wine production. The day we arrived, they were tossing the red grapes into the hopper for crushing and de-stemming. Our tasting ranged from their Petit Manseng, Voignier, Chardonnay, to their Long Bomb tribute.

Tarara Winery tastingTarara Winery tastingFor our GG Favorite, Julia picked their #SocialSecret wine (launched via a social media campaign). We met and chatted with Jordan, their winemaker (ironically originally from Ontario where we live) and he told us of his travels and wine exploits in building his passion for making great wines.

To add Tarara Winery to your daytrip through DC Wine Country, map their location, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Hillsborough Vineyards

Hillsborough VineyardsHillsborough VineyardsSliding back to the Louden Heights Cluster, we finished our tasting experience at Hillsborough Vineyards, overlooking the hills and valleys of the Blue Mountain. A winding drive through the vineyards parked us hilltop with a fantastic hillside panorama of the Blue Ridge Mountains, vines planted along the slope, the winery sitting area with vine wrapped trellis cover overlooking the valley.

Hillsborough Vineyards viewHillsborough Vineyards viewInside the tasting room was a long wooden bar to host many tasting couplings, and a back room with stone hearth setup for larger dinners or tasting events. Hillsborough Winery also hosts weddings and intimate gatherings on their stone patio. Although we were unable to meet the winemaker that day, their fantastic sampling menu was of native varietals and selections ranging from their Opal, Garnet, Ruby and Bloodstone. Check the video below for our GG Favorite ...

To see the Hillsborough Vineyards in the Smoky Mountain, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Take your girls and get away

Stoneybrook Organic Farm MarketStoneybrook Organic Farm MarketFor a girlfriends getaway, the DC Wine Country has many more great wineries to sample. A day's excursion will take you past historic civil war battlegrounds, through a rich farming region with great Farmers Marketplaces you can stop by for lunch (try the StoneyBrook Organic Farm Market in Purceville). It's all just a short drive from shopping (historic downtown Leesburg or the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets), museums (Air and Space Museum) and the US national capital and all it offers.

Connect with them via Twitter as @VisitLoudoun ... they'd love to help you plan your getaway!

Virginia is for lovers ... GoGirlfriend loves Virginia!

Tell us about your favorite stop in your tours of Loudoun County. We're always looking to share new ideas. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's talk!

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