The sweet nectar of fermented grapes flows on both sides of the Potomac this weekend. We've got the deets on this weekend's wine fests and a look ahead to some upcoming vino celebrations.
Virginia Wine Festival, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16
Leeseburg's Morven Park will be overrun with tents and tipsy folk this weekend for the 32nd annual Virginia Wine Festival. This affair lacks the intimacy of small fests at area vineyards, but it makes up for the dearth of character with a wealth of variety. Of all the area wine festivals, this one's your best opportunity to check out wines from across the state -- and scout out far-flung vineyards for potential road trips. As always, live music, above-average festival food and handmade craft displays round out the festival's offerings.
But how to get there? Morven's a hike from the Metro, so the festival teamed up with Washington Wine Academy to offer buses from the Vienna Metro station. The trip costs $46.50 (including the festival's admission fee) and can be purchased here for either a Saturday or Sunday trip. Act fast, though. The WWA tells me that they still have space on the bus, but tickets are selling fast. PartyDC is also organizing a shuttle service for a trip to the festival on Saturday. The $49.99 ticket includes festival admission and pays for bus transportation from the Front Page in Arlington. Find more information and buy tickets here.
Maryland Wine Festival, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16
Okay, so the Maryland Fest is often overshadowed by its neighbor to the South, but this smaller shindig has a lot to offer. Eighteen vineyards will offer up samples and wine education seminars are on tap. Jazz, zydeco and oldies bands take the stage throughout the weekend.
Mount Vernon Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 5-7
This semiannual soirÃ©e on our first president's beautiful lawn features wine and live blues music by Bruce Ewan and the Solid Senders. Guests can also take a nighttime tour of Washington's estate. Tickets cost $25, and a fruit-and-cheese box for two is available for an additional $22. You can purchase tickets through Ticketmaster, but since the event usually sells out, it's best to do so before the end of September. [UPDATE: Tickets were available for all three nights when this post was published, but Mount Vernon tells us that the Oct. 6 date sold out last night. Want to go on Friday or Sunday? Get those tickets soon.]
Shenandoah Valley Hot Air Balloon and Wine Festival, Oct. 20-21
Sip wine while looking out over hot air balloons set adrift in beautiful Blue Ridge country. This festival is one of the more family-friendly of the bunch with games, performances and hayrides for the kiddies. The festival runs Friday through Sunday, but wine tasting only takes place on Saturday and Sunday. In order to sample the offerings of 19 vineyards, tasters pay $5 in addition to the $10 admission fee.
And there's more where that came from. These festivals with multiple vineyards offer variety, but nothing can compare to the relatively mellow afternoon events taking place at area vineyards throughout the fall. Find an always-growing list of weekend wine festivals here.
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