There is a certain subset of young people in the DC area for whom weekly outings to the wineries that dot Loundon County and beyond is a normal thing. This is not really the life that the boy and I live. But when a friend invited us to a tasting at Stone Tower Winery for her birthday celebration, we couldn’t say no. One of the Boy’s coworkers had his wedding reception there, and knows the owners, and was very positive about this particular winery.
The winery is about a 50 minute drive if you’re coming from Arlington, and a little longer than that if you’re coming from Alexandria. The fastest way is to take the toll road out west to its end near Leesburg, and then take back roads for a while. The last 1.5 miles are on gravel road, so that’s something to balance out if you’re considering bringing a smaller vehicle, or one in which the tires need to be replaced.
We ended up parking near the Harvest Barn, just because that was the first sign for Stone Tower that we saw, and there was quite a lot of parking. It turns out there’s a larger tasting room, with even more parking just up the road, and we never saw it, but it didn’t matter. The two are very close together, and the only issue with parking at the Harvest Barn and walking to the Tower View building would be if it rained or if it were very very cold (it was only cold yesterday).
The Tower View building is quite large and hosts a number of spaces for those who are there. The main room has a large tasting bar where you can do a small tasting, buy wine by the bottle or glass to enjoy at the winery, or buy bottles to take home. There are a variety of tables and chairs, sofas and cozy spots to sit and enjoy your wine. There is also a members room that hosts tastings and provides extra space for those with a membership with the winery. After our tasting we ended up sitting in the small upstairs area with longer tables for groups which also affords a beautiful view of the vineyards and property.
Ours was a private tasting that was done down in the Tank Room. I really should have taken some pictures down there because it was fascinating. It was quite chilly (since wine is usually matured at cooler temperatures), but we were surrounded by many large oak and stainless steel tanks, all with chalkboard labels proclaiming the contents inside. There’s a picture here on the private tour/tasting page under ‘Group Tasting’. I imagine this would be a very pleasant place to have a tasting in the height of summer.
In our tasting we tried six wines: the Wild Boar Brut Cuvee (a champagne-style wine), the 2015 Wild Boar Sauvignon Blanc (which I really liked), 2015 Estate Viognier (which the Boy really liked), the 2015 Wild Boar Pinot Noir (which I got a glass of after our tasting), the 2014 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon (which was very tempting), and the 2014 Estate Hogback Mountain (very special, but a little rich for our pockets at $69/bottle). Normally I would have paid very close attention to what our guide was telling us about the different wines, but I was distracted. You see, the husband of the birthday girl had brought an assortment of meats, cheeses and three crusty loaves of bread. When there’s that much tastiness surrounding you, it’s easy to be distracted.
We had a great time. We stayed for about 2 hours afterwards, chatting with friends, finishing up the food, drinking wine and listening to the live music being played in the main room. If we’d wanted more food, there was the marketplace shop with gourmet nibbles inside, or there was also a barbecue trailer parked out front, and indeed some of our group did go get ribs and sides, and proclaimed it “delicious”. We weren’t the only group eating picnic style, so if you’re considering a trip out, definitely consider bringing your own food (but not booze, since it’s not allowed).
As you can see in the above picture, there are lots of spaces outdoors, so in the warmer months, it’s great space for those seeking to get out of the city and enjoy a beautiful day out with lovely views. I’m told it gets very crowded in the spring and summer months, and if the number of people who were there on a cold day in January is any indication, then it can only be more exuberant and joyfully full there when the weather is great. We ended up buying a bottle of the Brut Cuvee for a special occasion, and were very happy. Definitely a winery I would visit again, and a fun time for all.
Details: Stone Tower Winery, open Thursday-Monday, 11am to 6pm, other days by appointment only. Tower View Tasting Room is 21+ only, Harvest Barn is child and pet friendly. 19925 Hogback Mountain Rd., Leesburg, VA; (703) 777-2797.