PHOTO: Walking into the vineyards of Stone Tower Winery in Loudon County, Virginia (c) Sery Kim
With Congress still in recess, and many of the schools not yet started, yesterday was a perfect day in the Washington, D.C. area to head to one of the most popular wineries in the area: Stone Tower Winery. Located a 30 minute Lyft ride from Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station -- do not drink and drive, please -- Stone Tower Winery has the most bucolic grounds, as well as some of the best wine and pizza in the entire DMV.
I always recommend people going to the Virginia wineries to start early in the day because, once lunchtime hits, the crowds for a tasting can be super intense, often going 4-5 people deep. (This is why visiting when Congress is in recess and most of the schools still being out means there are less people at the winery.) Our group planned to meet at the metro station at 11 am so we could grab coffee and then do an early noon tasting at Stone Tower Winery. They open at 11 am on Saturday and Sundays, closing at 6 pm, so 12 pm gives you plenty of time to taste, linger and then leave in time for dinner back in the city.
PHOTO: The best wine I drank yesterday was the Stone Tower Winery Estate Sauvignon Blanc (c) Sery Kim
The tasting costs $20 and covers a sparkling wine (too young and average for me), 3 whites and 3 reds with a Rose in-between. I barely managed a sip of the highly aggressive reds but I downed all of both versions of Sauvignon Blanc, as well as the just-in-time Brut Rose. We ended up buying a bottle of the Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($38), which I thought was good but not worth the price. But when in the neighborhood ... you buy what is available!
We took our bottle of wine and settled outside with an order of the Pepperoni and Garlic pizza ($16), which was the best pizza I've had in the state of Virginia. Additionally it came out super-duper hot, which is always a bonus!
PHOTO: Stone Tower Winery's Pepperoni and Garlic Pizza (c) Sery Kim
While we were having a great time, we ended up only staying until 4:30 pm because there wasn't any shade -- and the girls were melting as a result of the heat -- but even at that point in the afternoon people were still arriving and doing the tasting(s). Additionally, Stone Tower Winery is very popular for weddings, bridal showers and all-sorts of corporate events so be advised that, depending on the weekend and time, you may not have access to the actual vineyard grounds for walking around (which was the case for us because there was a wedding there).
Alternatively, you can arrive for a scheduled tour of the indoor wine cellar, aka where Stone Tower Winery stores the humungous wine barrels for aging, but you can not arrive day-off for these kinds of tours. See here for more information.
PHOTO: The girls and I at Stone Tower Winery (c) Sery Kim
Overall a fun outing from the regular D.C. scene, and this winery still remains my favorite in the near D.C. grid. I am sure we will be back in the Fall when the weather cools. See you there!