Wine being among the earliest luxuries in which we indulge ourselves, it is desirable, it should be made here and we have every soil, aspect and climate of the best wine countries . . . -- Thomas Jefferson, 1811
THE DREAM is older than the nation: to plant the noble winegrapes of the Old World, and make wines to rival those of the great vintners of Europe.
The dream enchanted and distracted Jefferson, who turned over a 2,000-acre farm adjacent to Monticello to Filippo Mazzei, a Tuscan horticulturalist who imported thousands of the finest European Vitis vinifera vines in 1773 in hopes of making a great wine. But Jefferson's experiment withered away during the Revolution, and was doomed anyway because of a North American root pest that vinifera vines cannot tolerate.
George Washington hoped that native grapes could be made into a great American wine: "The spontaneous growth of the Vine in all parts of this Country; the different qualities of them and periods for maturation, led me to conclude that by a happy choice of the species I might succeed better than those who had attempted the foreign vine," Washington wrote to the French Minister of State, Chre'tien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, on July 9, 1783.
But events of the Revolution and the founding of the nation intruded on his efforts, too. ". . . This consideration led me to try the wild grape of the Country; and to fix upon the species which I have already described, and which in the Eight years I have been absent from my estate has been little attended to. Had I remained at home, I should 'ere this, have perfected the experiment which was all I had in view," Washington wrote.
Dreams of winemaking in America began long before the time of Jefferson and Washington. The colonists of Jamestown started crushing New World "fox grapes" almost the moment they landed in 1607. Eventually Americans learned to make some palatable wines, but not great ones. The growth of the industry in America was troubled by numerous obstacles: black rot, mildew, insects, uncooperative soils and an often inhospitable climate. Despite them, the winemakers persevered, helped by the discovery of genetic "sports" and new varieties, by the development of hardy hybrids of Old with New World vines, and by grafting vinifera vines onto American rootstocks.
But just as some American vineyards were beginning to produce worthy wines, the industry was devastated by "the Great Experiment," Prohibition.
On January 16, 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified, prohibiting the sale, manufacture and transportation of "intoxicating liquors." When the Volstead Act, passed in October 1919, defined an "intoxicating liquor" as one containing as much as half of one percent alcohol, the vineyards and wineries were put out of business or reduced to growing inferior grapes for home winemakers.
But the dream never died, and it currently enthralls a new generation of winemakers. Some, like W.G. Dahl of Virginia's Montdomaine Cellars, were smitten by wines during travels in Europe, and began to dream then. Others, like Archie Smith III, quit their chosen professions to make wine. Smith was a lecturer in philosophy at Oxford, but returned to help save the family's Middleburg farm. And then there are those who grew up in winemaking families, such as Eric Miller of Chaddsford Winery, Joachim Hollerith of Prince Michel Vineyards and Adriano Rossi of Barboursville Winery.
Today, 54 years after Repeal, there are 29 commercial wineries in Virginia, 10 in Maryland and three in nearby Pennsylvania that are open for tours and tasting. With two exceptions in Maryland -- Boordy Vineyards, founded in 1942, and Montbray, which was begun in 1966 -- the wineries are children of the 1970s and later. Many were founded in the '80s, with their first plantings just coming into full bearing.
Virginia has come a long way from Richard's Wild Irish Rose and Mother Vineyard Scuppernong, although the popular products of Richard's Cellars in Petersburg still account for the bulk of the Old Dominion's production. In 1986 the state produced an estimated 2.7 million gallons, ranking fourth among the states, according to the California-based Wine Institute. Maryland produced an estimated 60,000 gallons, placing it 14th nationally. Chardonnays, Rieslings, Cabernet Sauvignons, Seyvals and even champagne-style wines are now produced in the region.
The wineries in the two states range from big operations like Prince Michel to small farm wineries such as Catoctin Vineyards, near the Beltway. They have some Old World touches -- French oak barrels, sometimes French bottles -- but use such modern technology as blue plastic fermentation barrels, refrigerated stainless-steel holding tanks, analytical laboratories and mechanized bottling and labeling.
Most of the vineyards and wineries of Virginia, Maryland and nearby Pennyslvania are open for tours showing how wine is made, with tastings and, of course, sales. This Saturday and Sunday, two dozen Virginia winemakers will gather in Culpeper for their annual wine festival (details below).
Vineyards drink up lots of money before they make any. It takes five to 10 years from the setting out of the vines before the first full vintage is ready for sale. Many wineries are forced to offer other attractions to keep customers -- and dollars -- coming in. These include candlelight dinners, murder-mystery parties, tasting festivals, concerts of all kinds, renaissance fairs, harvest celebrations, picnicking areas, trout fishing and holiday parties.
A tour of the area's wineries should begin in Mr. Jefferson's country (directions are included in the following list). The viticultural area around Monticello is one of four grape-growing regions in the state to have won federal recognition, like the Napa Valley in California.
The Charlottesville area, with its rolling hills and mild climate, seems so hospitable to the grape it has attracted winemakers from Europe.
"The three most important factors in growing grapes in Virginia are siting, siting, siting," explains W.G. Dahl, chairman of Montdomaine Cellars, 15 miles south of Monticello. "The vineyard must be placed where the weather can roll off the land. Not too hot, too cold or too wet, with a good airflow."
Dahl's Montdomaine Cellars buys grapes from area vineyards, some of whose owners are shareholders in the Cellars. The growers and Cellar shareholders cooperate in deciding what varieties to plant, when to harvest, and what wines to make. The wines are sold under the Montdomaine label.
Dahl, a former executive of a Canadian nickel-mining company who has long owned property in the Charlottesville area, grew intrigued with winemaking during trips to Europe. "I visited the vineyards there during my travels and I always thought that one day, one day I would have my own," he mused recently. Dahl's own 18 1/2 acres, Totier Creek Vineyards, supply 30 tons of grapes to the Cellars, which expects to produce 72,500 bottles this year.
Shep Rouse, Montdomaine's bearded winemaker, looks more like a college student than a vinologist. He became interested in viticulture while studying environmental sciences in Germany on a Fulbright scholarship. Rouse returned to the United States and went through the internationally respected viticulture program at the University of California at Davis. Now he spends his days testing the wines, racking (moving) it from barrels to storage tanks, experimenting with new production methods, tasting, all in pursuit of better wine.
Rouse dreams of owning his own vineyard and winery, but for now, "I want to help establish Virginia as a quality wine producer, to show we can produce world-class wines."
Closer to Charlottesville is a different-style operation, Oakencroft Vineyards. While Montdomaine and Oakencroft share the same goal, they follow different styles. Montdomaine is a business: a winery in a large warehouse-like building built into a mountain with its tasting room and offices located in a large trailer nearby. At Oakencroft, wine is also made, but in a pristine building of stone and red-stained wood, with an antique-filled tasting room that Town & Country readers might envy. Oakencroft is owned by Felicia Rogan, a tall, patrician woman whose husband John owns the Boar's Head Inn and Sports Club outside Charlottesville.
Mrs. Rogan is founder of the Jeffersonian Wine Grape Growers Society, chairman of the Virginia Wine Grape Growers Advisory Board and author of an upcoming book, Virginia Wine: A Vineyard Year. Her winery is set in a valley next to a lake between two gentle hills on the 200-acre family farm, on which the Rogans raise polled Herefords.
From the stone dogs flanking the driveway entrance to the custom-made ceramic grapevine tiles in the tasting room, Oakencroft reflects the owner's taste and wealth. Felicia Rogan's cellarmaster is Deborah Welsh, the only woman professional winemaker in the state and one of the few in the country. Welsh worked for the Rogans and became interested in winemaking when they experimented with planting grapevines on the farm. Welsh later studied under Jacques Recht, the winemaker at Ingleside Plantation Vineyards in Oak Grove, Virginia. This year she hopes to produce 45,000 bottles of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Seyval Blanc.
When you visit Oakencroft, drive or walk the road behind the winery up through the 17-acre vineyard, to get the stunning view from the top of the hill, past the vineyards, fences and farm to the other hills around Charlottesville.
North of Charlottesville, in Barboursville, is a 50-acre vineyard and winery that mixes Virginia's past and present with the winemaking skills of the Old World. Barboursville Vineyards is on Barboursville Plantation, the estate of James Barbour, governor of Virginia from 1812 to 1814. The first vinifera vines were planted in 1976 by Gianni Zonin, of the Zonin wine family and company of Italy.
Barboursville's 100,000 bottles are made by Adriano Rossi, an Italian winemaker brought over by Zonin. Rossi tells in softly accented English how he learned winemaking from his father, who learned from his father before him.
The winery here is farm-functional, with no designer touches. A tasting room in a white-painted block building overlooks a picnic table under a tree in the parking area and, farther off, the ruin of the Barbour mansion, designed by Thomas Jefferson and destroyed by fire on Christmas 1884.
North of Barboursville on U.S. 29 is one of the largest wineries in the state. Prince Michel Vineyards, owned by Omni Services in Culpeper, has 110 acres of vines and expects to cork a quarter of a million bottles this year, one-third of the winery's eventual capacity.
Joachim Hollerith, Prince Michel's general manager and winemaker, came in 1978 from the Rheinpfalz region of Germany, where his family has been making wine for 300 years.
For Hollerith, the American dream is closer to realization. "The biggest problem we have in Virginia is growing high-quality grapes," he says. "In the winter we have northern climate conditions, in the summer we have Bordeaux conditions. The biggest challenge is using high-quality grapes. If we have them, the rest is fairly easy.
"We don't have world-class wines in Virginia now. We have nice wines. Let us have another five to 10 years and we may challenge. If we fine-tune vineyards to Virginia's conditions and get older vines, we are on the track to be recognized. We may need only three to five years. It depends on how hard we work and how lucky we are with the weather."
Prince Michel's large operation, in a red brick ranch-style building with a huge warehouse section hidden on the backslope, is reflected in its museum, tour and tasting area. Visitors can see a video show on winemaking, tour the winery, visit a museum displaying winemaking artifacts, antique wine bottles and a collection of wine labels bearing the work of famous artists, and then proceed next door to the tasting room and gift shop.
Closer to Washington is Meredyth Vineyards, a few miles outside of Middleburg. Meredyth is on Stirling Farm, where Archie Smith Jr. and his family raised beef cattle until 1972, when falling livestock and rising land prices threatened the future of the 209-acre farm.
Oxford philosopher Archie Smith III helped his father plant the vineyards during university breaks in 1972 and worked in them when his lecture schedule allowed until 1977, when he quit Oxford, married and became a fulltime winemaker. The Smiths' first crush from their 56 acres of vines was in 1975, and now the winery, housed in a small warehouse, produces 180,000 bottles a year.
Smith has the dream, but it's anchored in pragmatism. "Breaking even would be nice," he says. "We want to turn out the best possible wine with what Mother Nature allows us in the growing climate. We want to make good wines."
To make good the cash shortfall, Meredyth hosts candlelight dinners, murder-mystery parties, receptions, weddings and special theme tastings. These events are held in the winery, next to where the bottles are filled and labeled, or in the Tasting Trellis Pavillion beside the vineyards.
If Virginia is the biggest wine-producing state in the area, it's because of strong state support and promotion. In Virginia, the wineries are new, big and well-publicized. Across the border, in Maryland, Annapolis' support for wineries is comparatively nonexistent, and the wineries there are fewer and their output is smaller.
The closest vineyard and winery to your favorite wine bar in Georgetown is Catoctin Vineyards, just 14 miles north of the Beltway in Brookville.
Catoctin is a small operation, producing just 50,000 bottles a year in a well-equipped, modern winery in a barn. Robert Lyon, Catoctin's winemaker, worked in the Patent Office here but always was interested in winemaking. Finally, he took the plunge and went through the U.C.-Davis program. Now he owns a fourth of Catoctin's 32-acre operation.
Farther north in Maryland is another small operation, Whitemarsh Cellars, where DeWitt F. Truitt, a stern, curt-speaking lawyer and former attorney for the Joint Committee on Taxation, is making wine in his century-old stone-and-board barn next to his 200-year-old farmhouse in Hampstead, near Westminster.
Truitt is a demanding winemaker. He dumped his first production of 1,500 gallons -- a potential 7,500 bottles -- from the 1984 crush rather than market a product that "tasted too much of the oak," the French oak barrels in which it was stored. This year he hopes to produce 30,000 bottles from his 18 acres of Seyval, Chardonnay and Riesling vines.
If Maryland's wineries are smaller because of lack of state support, Pennsylvania's nearby wineries are forced to have attractions to lure customers because state law limits sales to the producing winery and three other retail outlets.
At Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, Lee and Eric Miller have turned a huge century-old barn into a winery, tasting room and party area that has a steady stream of visitors (and customers) because of its proximity to the Brandywine River Museum and other tourist attractions like Longwood Gardens and Winterthur. If you visit, ask to see the cathedral-like interior of the unused portion of the barn.
Eric Miller got into winemaking because his father, a successful illustrator and "wine nut," took the family to live in winegrowing regions of Europe. "We moved from vineyard to vineyard," says Eric Miller. "When we got back, it seemed logical to surround ourselves with vineyards. We moved back to a fruit farm in the Hudson Valley in 1969 and we began replanting it with winegrapes."
A dispute with his father led Eric to move to Pennsylvania and start his own winery. The Millers do not own a vineyard but plan to plant one. Their wines, including Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and fruit wines, are made from grapes grown in Pennsylvania.
Chaddsford's planning a Sangria festival with Spanish food on June 27 and 28, and jazz, brass and country concerts on Friday evenings in July. The Millers also offer the winery for small catered dinners and large receptions.
The last winery on this tour may be the most fun to visit. What is the Mount Hope Estate and Winery, located near Mannheim north of Lancaster? Is it a) a vineyard and winery b) a sandstone mansion built in 1800, expanded to its present 32 rooms and furnished in the Victorian era, with formal boxwood gardens, stained-glass windows and painted ceilings, or c) a rock 'n' roll festival and Renaissance Faire?
The answer is all of the above. The Mount Hope Estate was built by the Grubbs, a wealthy ironmaking family, and stayed in the their hands until 1936, when it passed to a series of owners and uses. In 1979, attorney Charles J. Romito bought the estate and started the winery with partner and winemaker Frank Mazza, a mechanical engineer who learned his winemaking skills from his family.
The winery, located in two large warehouses near the mansion, produces 300,000 bottles of 25 varieties of table, varietal, sparkling (including champagne-type) and fruit wines. The mansion is open for tours and is used for "Enchanted Evenings," special tastings held in the billiard room.
Mount Hope helps bring in customers with music festivals. On June 21, Romito will again don a black leather jacket and become Chuck the Truck, the emcee of a 1950s rock 'n' roll festival. Beginning July 4th weekend and continuing for the next 15 weekends, the estate's 50 acres will be the site of Pennsylvania's Renaissance Faire, a festival of actors, music, games, sports, food and Mount Hope wine.
"Wine was always a hobby of mine, as a consumer, not a winemaker," Romito explains. When the estate came up for sale, he says, "I couldn't pass it up. I decided we were going to be a winery way before I had a winemaker." Romito met Mazza in the Erie winegrowing region, where he was buying grapes. The two operated a small winery there for awhile before Mazza moved to Lancaster County and began planting the vineyards on the estate.
For Mazza, the winemaker, the dream is tinged with reality. "We have had a lot of setbacks with the vinifera." he said. "I guess my dream would be to win acceptance of the quality of our hybrid wines, to specialize in some of the white varieties and bring them up to the status of European wines." WINE FESTIVALS, MUSEUMS
The Virginia Wineries Festival, the biggest in the area, will allow you to taste the wines and meet the winemakers from 24 state wineries, sample foods that complement the wines, stomp some grapes and learn how wine is made, and enjoy arts and crafts, music, carriage rides and a skydiving show.
The Virginia Festival is 10 to 5 this Saturday and Sunday at Commonwealth Park in Culpeper. Tickets are $8 in advance, at TicketCenter outlets. Tickets at the gate are $10. Admission includes parking, a glass for tasting and all the wine you can sample. Persons under 21 cannot join the wine tastings and will be admitted free. The TicketCenter number is 432-0200. The festival information number is 800/521-1153 in Virginia and 703/832-3874 outside the state.
Winemaking in Virginia is celebrated in two museums, the Virginia Wine Museum in the Meadow Run Grist Mill, which has operated for 160 years on the grounds of historic Michie Tavern, and at Prince Michel Vineyards. The Virginia Wine Museum and Michie Tavern are near Monticello on Route 53, south of Charlottesville. 804/977-1234. Prince Michel Vineyards is on U.S. 29 10 miles south of Culpeper. 703/547-3707. Both museums are open daily except major holidays.
The schedule of wine festivals: SATURDAY & SUNDAY -- The Virginia Wineries Festival, offering tastings and sales from 24 state wineries, at Culpeper's Commonwealth Park. Take Route 3 east from Culpeper and turn south 3 miles on Route 522. 432-0200 from the Washington area. AUGUST 15 -- Middleburg Wine Festival, Piedmont Vineyards. 703/687-5528. AUGUST 29 -- Virginia Wine Festival, Middleburg . 703/754-8564. SEPTEMBER 13 -- Harvest Festival, Shenandoah Vineyards, Edinburg, Va. 703/984-8699. SEPTEMBER 19 & 20 -- Misty Mountain Harvest Fall Festival, Shelby, Va. 703/923-4738. SEPTEMBER 26 & 27 -- Maryland Wine Festival, held at the Carroll County Farm Museum, Westminster. 301/848-7775 OCTOBER 10 & 11 -- Monticello Bacchanalian feast, wine festival and competition. Charlottesville. 804/296-4188. OCTOBER 17 -- Stonewall Vineyards open house, Concord, Va. 804/993-2175. DECEMBER 5 & 6 -- Christmas Open House at the Barboursville Vineyards, Barboursville, Va. 703/832-3824. VIRGINIA WINERIES
These wineries are open for tours and tastings. Hours and supplies of wines will vary. In Virginia, road signs showing a cluster of grapes will help guide you the final way to the vineyards. More information can be obtained by writing the Wine Marketing Program, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Markets, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond VA 23209.
CENTRAL VIRGINIA AUTUMN HILL VINEYARDS -- Stanardsville. Wines: Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours by appointment only. From Charlottesville, take U.S. 29 north, go west on Airport Road to Route 606, north on Route 743 to Earlysville, left at Route 663 for 5.5 miles, then right on Route 603 for 2.2 miles to vineyard on right. 804/985-3081. BARBOURSVILLE VINEYARDS -- Barboursville. Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir Blanc, Rose' Barboursville and Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc. Tours 10 to 4 Saturday, but call ahead. Tastings 10 to 4 daily. Picnic area, ruin of mansion once owned by Gov. James Barbour. Christmas open house is December 5 & 6. At the intersection of Routes 20 and 33, take 20 south 200 yards, turn left on Route 678 for 1/2 mile, right on Route 777 for 500 yards, then right on first driveway. 703/832-3824. BURNLEY VINEYARDS -- Barboursville. Wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Rivanna White (Vidal), Rivanna Sunset (blush) and Rivanna Red. Picnic area. Tours 10 to 5 Friday, Saturday and Sunday or by appointment. Picnic area. From Charlottesville, go north on U.S. 29 to Route 641. Turn right a third of a mile to the winery. 703/832-3874. CHERMONT WINERY INC. -- Esmont. Wines: Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours by appointment or from 1 to 5 Wednesday through Saturday, April through October. From Routes 6 and 626, go toward Howardsville 5.6 miles on Route 626 to vineyard. 804/286-2211. DOMINION WINE CELLARS -- Culpeper. Wines: Chardonnay, White Riesling, Johannisberg Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, white, blush and red. Tours 12 to 6 Sunday, 10 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday.On the U.S. 29 bypass in Culpeper (follow the signs). 703/825-8772. MISTY MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS AND WINERY -- Madison. Wines: Seyval, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. Tours by appointment. Harvest festival is September 19 & 20. 703/923-4738. MONTDOMAINE CELLARS -- Charlottesville. Wines: Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Blanc. Tours and tastings 11 to 4 daily. Take Route 20 12 miles south of I-64, turn right on Route 720 and go 1/2 mile to vineyard. 804/971-8947. MOUNTAIN COVE VINEYARDS -- Lovingston. Wines: Villard Blanc, Skyline White & Rose', Harvest red, La Abra Peach and Apple. Tours and tastings from 11 to 5 daily; closed Monday, Tuesday from January to March. Picnic area. From U.S. 29, just north of Lovingston, go west on Route 718, follow signs for 3 1/2 miles to winery. 804/263-5392. OAKENCROFT VINEYARD & WINERY -- Charlottesville. Wines: Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours, tastings 10 to 4 weekdays, 11 to 5 weekends from April through December. Other times by appointment. Beautiful winery and elegant tasting room, but walk to see the stunning view from the hill at the top of the vineyards. From Charlottesville, take U.S. 29 north to Barracks Road west. Go 3.5 miles on Barracks Road to winery on left. 804/296-4188 PRINCE MICHEL VINEYARDS -- Leon. Wines: Blush de Michel, White Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tours 10 to 5 daily. Wine museum includes a video show and display of glassware, wine labels and artifacts used in making or drinking wine. Gift shop sells wine-related items, crystal, linens and foodstuffs. Winery is on U.S. 29 10 miles south of Culpeper. 703/547-3709. RAPIDAN RIVER VINEYARDS -- Culpeper. Wines: White Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. Tours 10 to 5 daily. From Culpeper, take Route 3 east, then Route 522 south, left on Route 611, then 4 miles to the vineyard. 703/399-1855. ROSE BOWER VINEYARD & WINERY -- Hampden-Sydney. Wines: Foch Nouveau, Hampden Forest Claret, Rose' O'Grady, Johannisberg Riesling, Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Vidal and dessert wines. Tours, tastings March 15 to December 15 from 12 to 6 Wednesday through Sunday or by appointment. From Farmville, take U.S. 15 to Worsham, right on Route 665, go two miles to the second fork of the road and bear left on Route 604, drive 3 miles to Route 686 and turn right. The vineyard is 1.5 miles ahead on the right. 804/223-8209. STONEWALL VINEYARDS -- Concord. Wines: Vidal Blanc, Cayuga White, Verdelet, Rose', spiced honey wine, Chardonnay and Claret. Tours 1 to 7 Thursday through Saturday, other times by appointment. Open house is October 17. From Route 460 in Concord, go north 6 miles on Route 608, left on Route 721. Winery is on the left. 804/993-2185.
EASTERN VIRGINIA ACCOMACK VINEYARDS -- Painter. Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Old Dominion White and Riesling. Tours 10 to 4 Tuesday through Sunday. 804/442-2110. INGLESIDE PLANTATION VINEYARDS -- Oak Grove. Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Chesapeake Blanc and Chesapeake Claret, Ingleside White and Champagne. Tours 12 to 5 Sunday, 10 to 5 the rest of the week. Picnic facilities, gift shop. Plantation is a registered historic landmark. Take I-95 to Route 3 east to Oak Grove, then south on Route 638 2 1/2 miles to the winery. 804/224-8687.
NORTHERN VIRGINIA FARFELU VINEYARDS --
Flint Hill. Wines: Seyval Blanc, Chancellor Noir and Dry Red. Tours by appointment. Vineyard is 4 miles east of Flint Hill on Route 647. 703/364-2930. LOCUST HILL VINEYARD -- Rectortown. Wines: Seyval, Chardonnay and Virginia Red and White. Tours by appointment. Vineyard is 1 mile south of Rectortown on Route 713. 703/364-1138. MEREDYTH VINEYARDS -- Middleburg. Wines: Aurora Blanc, deChaunac, Harvest Red, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Marechal Foch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Villard Blanc, Villard Noir, red, white and blush. Tours 10 to 4 daily, groups of more than 10 by appointment. Picnic area. Gift shop sells Virginia foodstuffs, spices, relishes and preserves. The winery holds special theme tastings, and is available for candlelight dinners, parties and receptions. It also publishes a newsletter on its activities. At Middleburg's blinking light, turn south, stay on paved road 2 1/2 miles to Route 628, turn left 2 1/2 miles to entrance. 703/687-6277.
NAKED MOUNTAIN VINEYARD -- Markham. Wines: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Claret. Tours 11 to 5 Wednesday to Sunday and holidays. From Markham, take Route 688 1 1/2 miles to winery on right. 703/364-1609. OASIS VINEYARDS -- Hume. Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chablis, Rose', Merlot, champagne-style and others. Tours 10 to 4 daily. Gift shop, banquet facilites and picnic area. From Front Royal, take U.S. 522 south 7 miles, left on Route 635 a mile to vineyard. 703/635-7627. PIEDMONT VINEYARDS & WINERY -- Middleburg. Wines: Chardonnay, Semillon, Hunt Country White, Little River White and Seyval Blanc. Tours 10 to 4 Tuesday through Saturday and on major Monday holidays. Candlelight dinners, picnic facilities, special tastings. Hosts Middleburg Wine Festival on August 15. Vineyard is 3 miles south of Middleburg on Route 626. 703/687-5528. WILLOWCROFT FARM VINEYARDS -- Leesburg. Wines: Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours by appointment. Winery is in rustic barn overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Take U.S. 15 south from Leesburg, right on Route 704, make an immediate left on Route 797 (dirt road), 3.1 miles to winery. 703/777-8161.
SHENANDOAH VALLEY GUILFORD RIDGE -- Luray. Wines: Page Valley Red and White, varietals. Tours by appointment. From the light on Main and Broad streets in Luray, go 4 miles south on U.S. 340, west a mile on Route 632 to vineyard. 703/778-3853. SHENANDOAH VINEYARDS -- Edinburg. Wines: Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Shenandoah Blanc, Rose', Ruby and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours 10 to 6 daily. Harvest festival is on September 13. From Edinburg exit on I-81, take Route 675 left away from Edinburg, right on Route 686 1 1/2 miles to winery. 703/984-8699. TRI-MOUNTAIN WINERY & VINEYARDS -- Middletown. Wines: Seyval, Vidal, Massanutten White, Rose, Dry Red, Plum, Apple and Concord. Tours, tastings almost anytime, but call first. From I-81 exit 77 (Middletown) go east on Route 627 a mile to winery. 703/869-3571. WINCHESTER WINERY -- Winchester. Wines: Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Winchester White and Rose' and Chambourcin. Tours and tastings 12 to 6 Wednesday through Friday, 10 to 6 Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment. Tasting room has view of the wine cellars and an art gallery. Take U.S. 50 2.8 miles west of Winchester to Route 608, left on 608 for 4.2 miles to winery. 703/877-1275.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA CHATEAU MORRISETTE WINERY -- Meadows of Dan. Wines: Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sweet Mountain Laurel and others. Tours 10 to 4 Wednesday through Sunday or by appointment. On Route 77, near mile post 172 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 3 1/2 miles north of Mabry Mill. 703/593-2865. CHATEAU NATUREL VINEYARD -- Rocky Mount. Wines: Red, White Burgundy, Rose' Labrusca and Blackberry. Tours 10 to 6 weekdays, 12 to 6 weekends. Groups by appointment. From Route 919, go east 2 miles on Route 812 to vineyards. 03/483-0758. FRUIT OF THE BLOOM FARM WINERY -- Salem. Wines: unusual bloom wines, such as Dandelion, Rose, Elderberry and Sparkling Raspberry and Strawberry. Tours, tastings (with cheese, crackers and sausage) 1 to 5 Sunday, 10 to 6 the rest of the week. Vineyard is at Glenvar on Route 11/460, 4 miles west of I-81 exit 40. 703/380-2795. MARYLAND WINERIES
Here is a list of Maryland wineries open for tours and tastings. For more information about vineyards in Maryland, write or call the Maryland Department of Agriculture, Marketing Services, 50 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis, Md. 21401. 301/841-5770. BERRYWINE PLANTATIONS -- Mount Airy. Wines: 25 dry and semisweet grape and fruit wines. Tours ($2), tastings and sales 12 to 6 Sunday, 10 to 6 the rest of the week. Take exit 60 off I-70, go 4 1/2 miles north on Route 675, right on Glisans Mill Road for 3.7 miles. 301/662-8687. BOORDY VINEYARDS -- Hydes. Founded during World War II by Philip M. Wagner, a former Baltimore newspaperman who has tirelessly and effectively guided and promoted the growing of superior winegrapes in the East and has counseled countless beginners in the art of fine-wine making. Wagner's hard-won expertise and lifelong enthusiasm (tempered by a stern insistence on making "only honest wine from sound grapes,") make him the practical, as Jefferson was the spiritual, father of East Coast winemaking.
Wines: Seyval, Vidal Blanc, Vin Gris, Boordy Blush, Chardonnay, Premium Red and White, Cabernet Sauvignon and Champagne. Tours, tastings 1 to 4 Sunday, 10 to 5 the rest of the week. Groups of 10 or more by appointment. Take exit 29 (Cromwell Bridge Road) from the Baltimore beltway north to Glen Arm Road, then go left 3 miles to Long Green Pike, and left 2 miles to winery. 301/592-5015. BYRD VINEYARDS AND WINERY --
Myersville. Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Johannisberg Riesling. Tours, tastings 1 to 5 on weekends. Exit 42 off I-70, then take Main Street north to Church Hill Road, right a mile to vineyard. 301/293-1110. CATOCTIN VINEYARDS -- Brookville. Wines: Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours, tastings on weekdays by appointment, 12 to 5 on weekends. Take New Hampshire Avenue north from the Washington Beltway for 14 miles to Greenbridge Road, turn right to the vineyard at 805. 301/774-2310. ELK RUN VINEYARDS -- Mount Airy. Wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. Tours, tastings 10 to 5 Saturday, 1 to 5 Sunday. Vineyard is midway between Frederick and Baltimore on Route 26 (Liberty Road). 301/775-2513. LOEW VINEYARDS -- Mount Airy. Wines: Seyval, Riesling and others. Tours, tastings 10 to 4 Saturday, 1 to 4 Sunday, other times by appointment. From Frederick, go east on I-70, north of Route 75, then east on Route 26 (Liberty Road) for 3 1/2 miles to 14001. 301/460-5728. MONTBRAY WINE CELLARS, LTD. -- Westminster. Wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and others. Tours, tastings 1 to 6 Sunday, 10 to 6 the rest of the week. From Westminster, take Route 97 north 7 miles, then go right 20 miles on Silver Run Valley Road. 301/346-7878. WHITEMARSH CELLARS -- Hampstead. Wines: Chardonnay and Riesling. Tours, tastings by appointment or "by chance" 10 to 6 daily. From Route 140 in Westminster, turn at McDonald's, go east on Gorsuch Road, right on Coon Club Road, left on Hoffman Mill Road to 2810. Trout fishing in Aspen Run across from the vineyard. 301/848-4488. WOODHALL VINEYARDS AND WINE CELLARS -- Sparks. Wines: Seyval, Vidal, Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours, tastings 1 to 5 weekends, other times by appointment. Take exit 24 off I-83, west on Belfast Road for 3/4 mile, south on Wheeler Lane for 1/2 mile. 301/771-4664. ZIEM VINEYARDS -- Fairplay. Wines: 15 red and white varietals. Tours, tastings 1 to 6 Thursday and Friday, 10 to 6 Saturday; all other times by appointment. Closed on Sunday. Take I-70 to I-81 south, exit on Route 63 south, go 4 miles to winery. 301/223-8352. PENNSYLVANIA WINERIES ALLEGRO VINEYARDS -- Brogue. Wines: Cabernet, Chardonnay, Seyval, Vidal, several blends. Tours, tastings almost any time for small groups; parties of more than six, please call ahead. Take I-83 north from the Baltimore Beltway to Exit 6E near York. That exit leads you to Route 74 south. Follow Route 74 for 15 miles through Red Lion to Brogue. Turn right at the Allegro sign and go 2 miles to another Allegro sign, then turn left 3/4 mile to the vineyard. 717/927-9148. CHADDSFORD WINERY -- Chadds Ford. Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Riesling, Chardonnay. Winery admission, tasting free. Guided tour, private tastings $3. Tours and tasting from 12 to 5 Friday through Sunday. Chaddsford also offers special winetasting evenings, workshops, festivals and concerts, all of which you can learn about by signing up for their newsletter. A Sangria festival, with Spanish food, is June 21. A three-week series of Friday-evening concerts of jazz, country and brass begins July 10 at 6 p.m. The winery, in a beautiful century-old barn, is available for catered dinners and receptions. Reservations required for some events. Near the Wyeth Museum, the Winterthur and Nemour mansions, and Longwood Gardens. From Washington, take I-95 north to Wilmington, Del., then Route 52 west to U.S. 1. Turn right 5 miles to the winery on the left. 215/388-6221. MOUNT HOPE ESTATE and WINERY -- Mannheim. Wines: Chablis, Sauternes, champagne-style, Riesling, Ravat, Vidal Blanc, Seyval Blanc and 18 other table, specialty and sparkling wines. Tours of the Victorian Mount Hope Mansion, formal boxwood gardens and winery and tastings 12 to 6 Sunday, 10 to 6 the rest of the week. The estate will hold a rock 'n' roll revival festival on its 50-acre estate from 12 to 6 on June 21. Tickets are $5 adults, $1 for children 6 to 11. Beginning July 4 and continuing for 15 weekends, the estate will be the site of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, a festival of games, music, food, wine and sport. Tickets are $8.75 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 11. Winery is 16 miles north of Lancaster on Route 72. 717/665-7021.
STAYING ON THE TOUR
While most of the vineyards are within a few hours' drive, those in the Charlottesville area and in nearby Pennsylvania may entice you into staying a night to enjoy the other attractions in the area. Here are a few inns to spend time in between tastings: CHARLOTTESVILLE BOAR'S HEAD INN -- Full sports resort with pool, tennis and other sports, including ballooning. On Route 250 West of Charlottesville. 804/291-2181 HIGH MEADOWS -- This 17-room, 9-fireplace inn located on a 20-acre estate has its own vineyard and gardens. On Route 20 south of Charlottesville and Montdomaine Cellars. 804/286-2218. PROSPECT HILL -- This country inn on a 1732 plantation east of Charlottesville has seven rooms. 703/967-0844. 200 SOUTH STREET -- Two restored houses filled with magnificent antiques. Whirlpool baths, fireplaces, canopy beds. Private garden. Near downtown. The front porch view isn't great, but once inside you'll never look back. 804/979-0200. PENNSYLVANIA FAIRVILLE INN -- Centrally located near Winterthur on Route 52 in Fairville. Elegantly furnished rooms in three buildings. Breakfast, tea served. 215/388-5900. MENDENHALL INN -- On Route 52 in Mendenhall. 20 rooms, 1 suite, near all the sights. 215/388-1181. GENERAL SUTTER INN -- Lititz. Thirteen rooms, filled with country and Victorian antiques. The lobby is filled with cages of exotic birds. 14 E. Main Street. 717/626-2115.