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Fall is meant for wineries

PHOTO: Jackie O and me at Stone Tower Winery (c) Sery Kim

Here in the DMV, we get maybe four solid weeks of incredible 60-70 degree weather before the sultry summer turns into bitterly cold winter. Luckily, the transition is fairly predictable and typically situated in the month of October. Favored fall activities include hiking and apple picking, but a classic fall activity in Virginia is to hit up one of the beautiful wineries in the Northern Virginia area for a nice day of Sunday relaxation, particularly when the weather is as sublime as it was this past Sunday.

It was suggested we venture to Stone Tower Winery, a bucolic location a mere 31 miles from where I live in Virginia, so we headed out.

I have never been to Stone Tower Winery but I have done more than my fair share of winery visits in Northern Virginia and I can safely say this is my favorite for three reasons. First, the sweeping terrain from the main house creates the perfect backdrop for leisurely sitting in the expansive space. Unlike a nearby favorite of many DMV residents (but not me) is Barrel Oak Winery, where the inside space is one-level and very small, and the outdoor space is equally tiny and mostly on an incline, at Stone Tower Winery you have a sprawling space both outside and inside on the main level, as well as nearly double the space on the "basement" level where the sitting area is flat and graveled. Additionally at Stone Tower Winery has both a private club room just beyond the main floor -- where men can watch football on Sundays -- as well as a separate standalone barn for weddings and other special events.

PHOTO: View of the back of Stone Tower Winery (c) Sery Kim

However, what really makes Stone Tower Winery stand out from the other wineries in the Northern Virginia area is the quality of their wine, again, vastly superior to the bitter and bland Barrel Oaks Winery.

Bottled with wines grown on Hogback Mountain in Loudoun County, there are different varietals covering breezy yet fresh whites, as well as bolder reds, and a few in-betweeners such as roses and bruts. Prices are not cheap but well worth the, on average, $30 price tag. The best of the best at Stone Tower Winery is the Cabernet Franc with sings with a subtle boldness, perfect for the view and peaceful atmosphere. Full list here: Tasting menus are, of course, recommended to try six of the bottles ($15).

Hours of visitation are here: Children are welcome but not in the tasting room. Same for dogs and other animals.

PHOTO: Jackie and I had a good drive out to Stone Tower Winery (c) Sery Kim

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