A Beginner’s Guide to Loudoun’s Wine Country

The Fall Harvest at Sunset Hills Vineyard, on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
The Fall Harvest at Sunset Hills Vineyard, on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Loudoun, VA is home to the wineries nearest the District. The wine culture is not as old as those further west in Middleburg and the Plains, but Loudon’s vineyards are surprisingly plentiful and diverse, with over twenty wineries that produce different varieties of grapes and wines. The wineries in the area are organized by five regions or ‘clusters,’ Here we will look at the Loudon Heights Cluster and the Waterford Cluster.

Whether craving some award-winning wine or a weekend getaway to wine country, here’s a first look at the wineries of Loudon.

LOUDON HEIGHTS CLUSTER

These wineries surround Hillsboro, one of the smallest historic towns in Virginia. With only around 100 residents, Hillsboro is fittingly named after the hills that surround it. The wineries in this area share in common the breathtaking scenery of the Hillsboro countryside.

The wineries:

Doukénie Winery, nestled on 500 acres at the base of Short Hill Mountain. Their 2009 Chardonnay was awarded the Bronze Medal in the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

The estate of Hillsborough Vineyards was once owned by George William Fairfax, a childhood friend of George Washington. Their gardens are framed by the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.

Breaux Vineyards can be described as a tranquil “Mediterranean-meets-Napa” style estate. It has placed an emphasis in Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as unique varieties made into Nebbiolo, Syrah and Viognier.

Notaviva Vineyards’ name combines the Italian nota meaning “music note,” and viva meaning “with life,” and their wines are named using musical terminology, such as their award-winning “Cantabile” Cabernet Franc.

Bluemont Vineyards is an extension of the 200-acre Great Country Farms, a popular family attraction and CSA farm outside the village of Bluemont. They grow Norton grapes, the only grape native to the region.

WATERFORD CLUSTER

The wineries here lie just outside the historic village of Waterford, which was founded by the Quakers in 1733 and is now a National Historic Landmark.

Loudon Valley Vineyards is led by Bree Ann, a native to Sonoma County, CA. Bree handcrafts her award-winning wines and evolves her winemaking style to best highlight the results of each year’s growing condition.

Sunset Hills Vineyard is positioned on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just north of Purcellville. The property’s 140-year-old barn and springhouse have been restored, with its charmed, rustic elegance maintained. Great for visiting.

Hiddencroft Vineyards is committed to showcasing the best of what is local, having cultivated six acres of grape varietals that excel in Virginia’s climate and soil. They also handcraft small quantities of award-winning artisan wine.

Corcoran Vineyards is run by Lori and Jim Corcoran, engaging conversationalists who invite guests into their quaint restored log cabin tasting room, offering sensory classes to learn how to decipher what you smell and taste in a wine.

Village Winery and Vineyards is where you want to go for truly handmade wines. Owner Kent Marrs does all the winemaking himself, crafting each wine entirely by hand to preserver the true character and flavor of the variety.

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Sat, 2 Aug 2014 02:31:16 -0400

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