By Claire Goldman
In preparation for DC Wine Week (Oct. 12-19), DiVINE Wine Tours and DC Wine Week partnered together to plan a special trip. On a beautiful September morning, Lauren and I hopped aboard the DiVINE Wine Tours van to embark on a journey of the palate.
We headed west into Virginia wine country with our trusty guide, Dave, who co-founded DiVINE Wine Tours with his wife. Dave explained the growing demand for Virginia wines which really began taking off back in 1997 and has driven the state to the top five list for production in the USA (Washington, D.C. is notably first in consumption among US cities, wonder if that has anything to do with the VA wine boom?!).
Our first stop was Gray Ghost Vineyards in Amissville, VA where we were lucky to see the actual processing of their Chardonnay.
The grapes had been hand picked that morning by volunteers and we watched them go through the de-stemming process and journey to the spinning wine press. Gray Ghost is a family operation where the award winning tasting list is a mile long ($10 per person). We especially liked the Victorian Red and outdoor seating where we enjoyed our DiVINE provided boxed lunch.
Next we headed toward to Rectortown near Delaplane, VA to the Vintage Ridge Vineyards. This is a beautiful vineyard that sits on top of a hill with sweeping views of the valleys and ridges in the distance.
The unique tasting experience allows you to compare two different wines at once ($7 per person). We recommend spending a fall afternoon at Vintage Ridge with a bottle of the orange-hued Syrah Rose or Petite Verdot on their back patio complete with wood burning fire pit.
Lastly we went to Aspen Dale Winery in Delaplane, VA. The tasting here was my personal favorite as they paired each wine with food ($9 per person) and had live music playing, as they do every Saturday from 1-5 PM.
We recommend any of the reds and a wedge of their sage cheese from Ireland to be enjoyed either in their cozy toasting room or out back in the sunshine by the lily pond.
By the end of our long day of wine tasting, we were glad to DiVINE Wine Tours to drive us back to D.C. hassle free.
DiVINE's next D.C. tour embarks on October 5th, departing from The Hamilton at 14th and F Streets at 10:15 AM. Tickets for the tour are $95 and include transportation, lunch, bottled water and a wine bottle tote perfect to bring home your favorite bottles from the wineries! DiVINE operates out of Reston, Virginia but is looking towards doing further tours out of D.C. For more information go to DiVINEWineVA.com or call (855) 384-6382. For more on DC Wine Week's other events such as an upcoming Wine Crawl and lots of advice on local wine bars and buys go to DCWineWeek.com.
Photos and Video by Lauren DeSantis