With hundreds of wineries in the DMV, how’s one to choose? We hit up Dave McIntyre, the Washington Post’s wine columnist (yes, that’s a real job), to find out the best places to go and the right wines to get (completely for your benefit, of course).
First, What Wines Are Good Here?
For a red wine, McIntyre suggests the Cabernet Franc, a variety that a lot of Virginia and Maryland wineries specialize in, because it thrives in the Mid-Atlantic climate.
For white wine, Petite Mansen is very popular right now. It’s a tropical, fruity wine that can be bone dry or sweet depending on how it’s processed. Plus, it’s pretty much only found in the DMV. Albarino and Sauvignon Blanc are also standouts among local wineries.
Now that you know what to get, here’s where to get it.
Early Mountain Vineyards (Madison County):
One of McIntyre’s favorites, this winery has a large variety to choose from. He particularly recommends their Petit Manseng and Cabernet Franc.
Stinson Vineyards (Crozet):
This father-daughter winery is a little farther afield but worth the trip. It specializes in small lot wines with a distinct French influence and process, including whole berry fermentation for reds and sur lie aging for whites.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards (North Garden):
With one of the most beautiful facilities and views in Virginia, this vineyard also has a great farm-to-table restaurant.
Walsh Family Vineyards (Purcellville):
This winery is only a 40-minute drive from D.C. and has bar takeovers every Friday by another local winery, so you can get two-in-one.
Get a flight to try multiple wines! (Carlo Prearo/Getty Images)
Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards (Dickerson):
This gorgeous outdoor winery is only 30 minutes from D.C. and 22-acres large. They currently grow six red and six white varieties.
Linganore Wines (Mt. Airy):
An older winery famous for sweet, fruity wines. But McIntyre says they are also experimenting with some dry wines, including one he loves with Saperavi grapes. “They're one of very few people in the mid-Atlantic growing that,” he noted.
Black Ankle Vineyards (Mt. Airy):
With a $33 wine tasting and regular live music and food trucks, this is one of Maryland's most popular vineyards. Beware the crowds on weekends.
The Vineyards at Dodon (Davidsonville):
Close to Annapolis, this winery makes the perfect day trip. McIntyre recommends their Sauvignon Blanc.
District Winery (Navy Yard):
They make their own wines from grapes that are shipped in. You can do a formal tasting or go for just a glass. They also have a full restaurant.
Irregardless (H Street):
Although they don’t make wine, they specialize in stocking Virginia bottles, and it’s a great way to try out local wines without leaving the city.
Sonny’s Pizza (Park View):
This pizza place regularly hosts natural local wine tastings, bringing in wineries from across the region. They even have a wine club.
Want more wine tips? McIntyre will be on our podcast tomorrow.