But why drive hours to taste just a few wines when there are festivals that will let you taste the goods from several wineries and breweries in one go? Here are a few upcoming festivals worth checking out, starting this weekend:
Take advantage of the cooler weather this weekend and zip down to Nelson County for this inaugural fest celebrating Virginia’s booming suds scene — featuring a number from NoVa, including Lost Rhino, Port City and Corcoran Brewing Co. General admission to Saturday’s festival is $10 in advance; for tastings, packages start at $35.
Showcasing Maryland vineyards, including Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, Elk Run and Linganore, Uncorked is an annual tradition in downtown Rockville (blissfully, it’s not far from the Metro). It returns Saturday, and $15 buys tastings from the wineries, but admission to the festival, which also has live music all day, is gratis.
If you’re in search of an intimate festival (is there such a thing?), you can find it at this cool Arlington wine bar on Saturday, when it pours up to 18 wines at a cookout in its parking lot. Tastings and a plate will run you just under $40 a person.
Blob’s Park should make a fine setting for the two-day Kegs and Corks festival, which is heavier on the kegs. Saturday and Sunday’s brewers include Port City, Starr Hill, Old Dominion and Philly’s Yards Brewing (plus a bevy of the German stuff on tap from Blob’s, a revered local beer garden). Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the gate for one-day admission.
Who knew Herndon had a cool little wine and beer festival each year? The fest expanded in recent years to include microbrewers, and this year, the lineup is stronger than many of the larger festivals: Barboursville, Horton and Notaviva top the list of 12 wineries at the Sept. 3 event, and brewers will include DC Brau, Lost Rhino and Port City. Admission plus tastings are $20; admission without tastings, $10
The traveling wine festival Great Grapes lands at Reston Town Center on Sept. 8 and 9, and brings together several good Virginia wineries, including Horton, Philip Carter and Potomac Point. The number of participating wineries isn’t huge, so expect to spend a good chunk of time pursuing the crafts market or checking out the bands. Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the gate, and includes a glass and unlimited samples.
Mark your calendars for Sept. 16, when Crystal City’s urban, Metro-accessible festival returns. The festival has taken on a curious Latin/Spanish theme in recent years, so expect tapas and tequila tastings in addition to the wine.