A mere 90 minutes due west of Arlington is another world, another landscape with a seriously laid-back attitude and decidedly far better scenery.
Hard as it is to believe, but a fast 40-or-so miles away from your harsh hustle and bustle are the sprawling pastures of Sunset Hills Vineyard and 50 West Vineyards, two working farms with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and serving award-winning wines grown among five regional vineyards.
But it’s winter! Even better: The cozy tasting rooms at the vineyards are open year-round, with people who know their wines gladly pouring the fruits of the growing season’s labor for visitors who are exploring the countryside.
A late afternoon at Sunset Hills Vineyard introduces visitors to three of their award-winning wines — the 2016 Viognier and the 2013 Mosaic Bordeaux Blend — as well as the mountain-view sunset the grounds are named for.
“Our Sunset Hills property runs primarily off of solar power and have more than 200 solar panels throughout the grounds,” said Emily Peters, marketing manager for the properties. “Solar power runs our wine production facility, which is why we say we ‘turn sunshine into wine.'”
Sunset Hills, which turns 10 years old this year, is an Old World-style farm, with a historic, restored Amish barn in Purcellville. The website with directions, hours and available wine selection is here.
50 West, operating from a converted horse stable perched on a bluff overlooking the Bull Run Mountains, specializes in classic French Bordeaux-style reds and whites.
50 West Vineyards is on the outskirts of historic Middleburg, in Aldie. The website with directions, hours and available wines is here.
To maximize your day, you can take in both vineyards in one afternoon. They’re about 30 minutes of countryside scenery apart.
As an ARLnow.com reader bonus, there is an offer of half-price tastings plus 20 percent off bottles. Register here to receive this limited-time discount.
Both vineyards use 100 percent Virginia grapes, and both brands are active in local philanthropic efforts, Peters added. Among the nonprofits supported are the Sweet Julia Grace Foundation, Loudoun County Hunger Relief and Boulder Crest Retreat. Last October the vineyards donated nearly $20,000 to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.
For more information on 50 West Vineyards and Sunset Hills Vineyards, send an email via this page.
The preceding post was written by ARLnow.com and sponsored by 50 West Vineyards and Sunset Hills Vineyards.