19925 Hogback Mountain Road, Leesburg, 703-777-2797
Top Notes: Rarely do people visit a winery to check out its furnishings, but that’s often the case at Stone Tower, which is owned by Mike and Kristi Huber, founders of Virginia’s Belfort Furniture. The family has done up its new showroom-size tasting room with the company’s “rustically elegant” couches, wooden tables, and accouterments. The winery’s setting on the 300-acre Huber family farm, with views of the Bull Run Mountains, a lovely pond, and rolling farmland, is even prettier than the scenery inside.
Vintages: Stone Tower grows a dozen varietals on 60 acres, which it bottles under its pricey Stone Tower Estate label. (Sample the 2013 Hogback Mountain red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, even if you balk at its $69 price tag.) More reasonably priced pours can be found under the winery's Wild Boar brand, which features wines made from Virginia grapes as well as varietals from the West Coast. Try the Malbec ($32), not often seen in these parts.
The Grapevine: Tastings cost $15 for six wines, and Stone Tower offers a variety of tours, from standard vineyard excursions that include tastings ($35) to the Winemaker’s Experience ($85), which features a private tour and gourmet lunch with winemaker Tim Crowe. There’s often live music on weekends.
The Finish: A small on-site market sells cheeses, meats, and breads, while food trucks—serving up everything from pulled pork to lobster rolls—often park at the winery on weekends.
If you're making a weekend out of it, crash at the Country Comfort Bed & Breakfast (19724 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg, 703-926-6994), where guests get huge breakfasts delivered right to their suite. Don’t leave without checking out Oatlands Historic House & Gardens (20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, 703-777-3174), a sprawling, 1798 plantation with expertly manicured grounds and afternoon tea.
Sunset Hills Vineyard
38295 Fremont Overlook Lane, Purcellville, 540-882-4560
Top Notes: Besides its tasty wines, the star attraction at this 45-acre winery is its brick-red Bavarian-style bank barn that dates from 1870 and was transformed into a handsome tasting room by a team of Amish brothers in 2008. Owners Mike Canney, a physicist and former tech entrepreneur, and his wife, Diane, who worked in the intelligence field, lend their green ideals to the business with 245 solar panels throughout the property.
Vintages: Sunset Hills grows 15 varieties of grapes on five Virginia farms, with 20 acres of grapes grown on-site at the winery. Red wine fans should try the 2012 Mosaic, a complex-tasting blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, while white wine aficionados will appreciate the crisp 2014 Viognier, rated 91 points by The Wine Advocate.
The Grapevine: Tastings run $10 for six wines. Musicians entertain imbibers every weekend year-round, while the Class and a Glass program pairs monthly Saturday-morning yoga classes with a glass of vino.
The Finish: Sunset Hills has a good selection of cheeses, breads, tapenades, charcuterie, and chocolates available for guests, but for a larger meal, head to the upscale Stoneybrook Farm Market (37091 Charlestown Pike, Hillsboro, 540-668-9067) for its coffee bar, gourmet sandwiches, and produce grown on the farm behind the store. Bed down for the night at Zion Springs Bed and Breakfast (16652 Mandileigh Lane, Hamilton, 540-751-9776), which has four period-decorated suites set on a 23-acre farm, starting at $159 per night. After a good night’s rest, scoot into nearby Purcellville, with its antiques stores and nonchain restaurants. If you’re thirsty for something different, visit one of the town’s four microbreweries or sample the rye at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company (120 W. Main St., Purcellville, 540-751-8404).
13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, 703-771-7100
Top Notes: Tarara was the third winery in Loudoun County when it opened in 1989. Its expansive 495 acres include a mile of Potomac River frontage, a man-made lake, and an outdoor concert stage that draws thousands to its weekly shows.
Vintages: In 2013, Wine Enthusiast magazine rated three Tarara wines in the 90s, and chaos ensued. Crowds snatched up much of the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon-Tannat, and Merlot, so winemaker Jordan Harris went to Washington state to source more grapes and bottled them under the Killer Cluster label. (Try the not-too-sweet Muscat, a bargain at $15.) Award-winning red blends Nevaeh and Tranquility are must-tries, too.
The Grapevine: There’s live music on the winery's outdoor deck every weekend, with views of the Potomac once the leaves start to fall.
The Finish: On weekends, Leesburg’s The Wine Kitchen restaurant provides the winery with a short seasonal menu of salads and sandwiches. Charcuterie and cheese platters are available all week. Faith Like a Mustard Seed Farm (42906 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, 571-209-1450), a working farm and restaurant, makes a sublime destination for brunch if you want to line your stomach with orange-ricotta-filled crepes or hardy tostadas before imbibing. You can even spend the night in its homey Milk House cottage for $150. Don’t leave Loudoun County without a stop at The Old Lucketts Store (42350 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, 703-779-0268), a landmark of antiques and architectural salvage, with heavy oak mantels and rusty gas station signs.