3 ways to enjoy the best of Fredericksburg’s libation scene

Jane and Marvin Bond

Enjoying the fruit of the vines at Lake Anna Winery along the Grapes and Grains Trail. (Grapes and Grains Trail)

“Adults are allowed to have fun, too” is the mantra of the Fredericksburg Area Wine Festival, which makes its 27th appearance Nov. 4–5 in neighboring Spotsylvania Mall. At least nine Virginia wineries and two cideries will pour samples, and an eclectic mix of food vendors and artisans will offer other diversions.

Participating wineries include some of the well-known locals, such as Hartwood, Lake Anna, and Mattaponi. Also on hand will be Rockbridge Vineyard from the Shenandoah Valley and Burnley Vineyard from Northern Virginia. Ingleside Vineyards, Castle Glen Winery, Chateau O’Brien at Northpoint, and Rogers Ford Farm Winery round out the mix, allowing visitors to taste wines from different parts of the state.

Cobbler Mountain Cider, of Delaplane, and Coyote Hole Cider Works, of Mineral, also will be pouring.

This is an outdoor festival that takes place rain or shine. Tickets are available online through Nov. 3 for $20, plus a $2.09 fee.

The Fredericksburg Hospitality House offers a wine festival room rate of $89, including breakfast.

Local libations trail

The Grapes and Grains Trail in the Fredericksburg area offers a year-round opportunity to tour five wineries, five craft breweries, and a distillery. A trail map easily separates the wineries, breweries, and the distillery and offers links to the member websites.

The A. Smith Bowman Distillery offers free tours Mondays through Saturdays and visitors learn the fascinating story of how Bowman got into the distillery business as Prohibition was repealed. The company remains a family-owned business.

The former Blue and Gray Brewing Co. is now known as Adventure Brewing South. The location continues to be a production facility and brewpub, while Adventure Brewing North, in Stafford, is home to the pilot brewing system and a tasting room.

In Fredericksburg, Maltese Brewing has a full calendar of food truck days. Spencer Devon Brewing offers fine dining in its brewpub, and Red Dragon Brewery provides a Saturday tour and 20 tap lines for its beers. 

Newest among the breweries is the 1781 Brewing Company, which opened in May on the same property as the Wilderness Run Vineyards, creating the first winery and farmhouse brewery in Virginia. The property is the same farm where Stonewall Jackson’s arm was amputated and features a bounty of wildlife as well as catch and release fishing.

Among the other local wineries, Hartwood is senior, as owner Jim Livingston started with a commercial vineyard in 1981 and added a winery in 1989. Lake Anna Winery also started as a vineyard selling grapes to other wineries, but the family erected a tasting room and began principally producing its own wine. 

Mattaponi Winery is the area’s only Native American winery and also sells Christmas trees grown on the property in November and December. Potomac Point Winery opened its Mediterranean-style winery and tasting room in 2007 and also offers a Sunday brunch in its bistro.

A trolley wine tour

Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg offers a wine tour by trolley and will end the season with tours on Oct. 8, 15, and 21; Nov. 12 and 19; and Dec. 3, 10, and 17. The tours sell out, but online tickets are available at fredericksburgtrolley.com/wine. 

A quite different tour in Fredericksburg is the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes, Dec. 9–10. Now in its 47th year, the event allows visitors inside historic and contemporary homes decorated for the holidays. It’s another way to enjoy a weekend and to get you in the holiday spirit.

 

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