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.
A new wine bar and restaurant is open on the first floor of a Courthouse hotel.
Verre Wine Bar and Restaurant is located at 2415 Wilson Blvd, on the first floor of the Hyatt Place hotel, which opened ahead of schedule last year. Based on photos posted to the wine bar’s Yelp page, it opened in November.
Verre has an extensive wine and draft beer list, as well as small plates and cheese and charcuterie boards among other foods. It opens at 5 p.m. each day with happy hour.
A new wine store and gourmet shop is coming to Pentagon City, according to a Virginia ABC application.
The store, called Pentagon City Wine Merchant in the application, would be located at 1330 S. Fair Street, near The Millennium at Metropolitan Park apartment building and across from Costco.
It may replace the Tutti Frutti frozen yogurt store, which closed in 2015 and had gone unfilled until now. The new store will also be next door to the Epic Smokehouse, an upscale barbecue restaurant that opened in 2012.
As of Tuesday, August 1, no building permit applications had been filed with the county.
Calls to the phone number associated with the ABC application went unreturned.
In addition to facing competition from the Costco across the street, the store will also compete with the Whole Foods store a block away.
Police were called to the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd around 7 a.m. Friday for a report of someone throwing objects out of a second floor window. When the arrived they allegedly found a 21-year-old Arlington man who was drunk and tossing wine bottles and change at a car below.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-06160070, 2700 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 7:09 a.m. on June 16, officers responded to the report of an individual throwing objects. Upon arrival, it was determined a male subject was throwing objects at an occupied vehicle from an upstairs window. No one was injured. Marvin Sosa Velasquez, 21, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with missile into occupied vehicle and drunk in public. He is being held without bond.
Stock up on discounted drink tickets to use at Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden.
Open every Friday starting in June, Fridays at the Fountain not only features a new name (formerly Wine in the Water Park), but also a vastly expanded schedule stretching all the way through October and an upgraded line-up of live music.
The bar serves delicious offerings of beer and wine, all of which are available for take-home purchases at the Crystal City Wine Shop down the street from the event.
Drink tickets, normally $5 each on site, are available for 50 percent off their online price in this exclusive pack of 5 tickets available for $10 (normally $20 online). Only a limited supply is available so act fast!
As an added bonus, the Crystal City drink cards are redeemable at any Crystal City BID event that features a cash/credit bar including the upcoming Father’s Day Auto Festival.
Purchase Today’s Deal Now
Discount Code: FridaysFountainDeal17
WHEN: Every Friday June through October from 5-9 p.m.
WHERE: The Fountain (aka Crystal City Water Park) at 1751 Crystal Drive
WHAT: Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden returns with a new name and a vastly expanded season stretching from June all the way through October. Open for business immediately after work at 5 p.m., ease into the weekend with a delicious beverage, live music, or even a discounted painting session with ArtJamz. All beverages are also available for take-home purchases at the Crystal City Wine Shop.
Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.
In the cradle of our democracy and the Piedmont of Virginia, lies a winery that bears the name of the President-Elect. Trump Winery, formerly Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, sits in the same area that Thomas Jefferson once made wine. A region that has long had its own American Viticultural Area (AVA) designation as Monticello.
Donald Trump bought the winery in 2011 for $6.2 million — a bargain compared the $28 million that was owed on it. As part of that deal, Trump gained the rights to purchase Patricia Kluge’s famous estate, Albemarle House. It is now a luxury hotel for visitors of the winery.
Regardless of the reputation of its current owner or its previous one — Kluge was the divorcee of one-time Forbes’ richest man in the U.S., John Kluge — the winery has racked up accolades from publications like Wine Enthusiast and awards in local and national competitions. Its sparkling wines are its bread and butter, but there’s plenty to like about many of their varieties.
It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Trump wines are a hot commodity right now with the inauguration of its namesake in a week. A quick search on eBay reveals that there is a market for these wines with the name of the next president on them — in one post a case goes for $295. In fact, the wines are in such demand that they are mostly allocated to restaurants.
We took a look at three of the wines for sale: the 2010 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, 2015 Meritage and 2015 Viognier.
2010 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc
A classic example of a champagne-style chardonnay wine made in the U.S., the 2007-2009 vintages garnered 22 awards among them. Given that the winemaker has been with the winery since before the current owner took over, the 2010 vintage of this wine stands up well.
Named Virginia’s signature white grape in 2011, the Viognier grape is well suited to the climate of the Old Dominion. This wine is fruit-forward with distinct notes of banana and pear. It’s on the lighter side with a slight hit of sweetness.
Meritage is the name of blended wines that are made in the Bordeaux style, without having to be made in that region. The designation is controlled by the Meritage Association, which dictates the grapes to be used and suggests standards. This Meritage is a blend of merlot and cabernet franc grapes. The merlot grape dominates with big blackberry notes while the cabernet franc grape brings a hint of coffee grounds, which grows stronger as this wine warms in the glass. Bottled in 2015, this Trump Meritage is young and could use time to evolve.
Get ready to enjoy everyone’s favorite faux race with your best bud, BFF, partner or spouse at a steep discount with today’s ARLnow Daily Deal. For the next 24 hours, purchase two 1K Wine|Beer Walk tickets for the price of one!
Tickets are usually $25 at the door or $20 online. With this Daily Deal, you can purchase two tickets for only $20 (plus transaction fees).
Choose the beverage of your choice, select your heat, and get ready to make your way through the course stopping at “hydration stations” throughout the Crystal City Shops and the Art Underground where you will be able to sample from up to 20 different wine and beers. As always, the wine and beer selections are hand-picked by the experts at the Crystal City Wine Shop where all offerings are also available for purchase.
Celebrate your personal best (i.e., your favorite taste) at a fun-filled finish festival that includes additional tasting stations, great music and complimentary bites. Come dressed in your most creative or obnoxious race-wear and be ready for photos, social media, and prizes.
WHEN: Saturday, January 21st – Heats Available at 2, 3 and 4
WHERE: The Landing, Crystal City Shops @ 1750 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
WHAT: Everyone’s favorite faux race, the 1K Wine|Beer Walk is right around the corner. Choose the beverage type of your choice, select your heat, and get ready to make your way through the course stopping at “hydration stations” throughout the Crystal City Shops and Art Underground where you will be able to sample from up to 20 different wine and beers.
Total Wine and More opened in Ballston this morning, a day later than first anticipated.
An “occupancy permit issue” prevented the store from opening on Thursday, as scheduled.
About 15-20 customers were already perusing the aisles of wine, beer, food and accessories shortly after Total Wine opened the doors Friday morning.
Located at 800 N. Glebe Road, the store includes special features like a cigar humidor, a growler fill station, a classroom and meeting space and free Wifi.
The store’s hours are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday.
ACPD Officer Played in NFL — Arlington County Police officer Dorian Brooks was formerly an offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 6’3″ and 280 lbs, Brooks has lost some weight from his playing days — which included a 2011 Super Bowl appearance — but remains an imposing figure on the beat. [WUSA]
Write-in Candidate: Congressman Stole My Porn — Write-in congressional candidate Mike Webb continued his press release barrage early this morning with a curious one: an evidence-free accusation that Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) broke into his home and stole cell phone chargers, digital cameras and an external hard drive containing his porn stash. The subject line of the email: “VIP Beyer Steals External ‘Sex Drive’ and Impotent Webb Wants Good Porn Bac [sic].” Webb inadvertently made headlines earlier this year by releasing an image showing tabs for porn websites on his computer, later claiming that he was just testing said sites for viruses. [PDF]
Flights Canceled Due to Matthew — Hurricane Matthew’s jaunt up the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina coast is leading to numerous flight cancellations at Reagan National Airport. [WJLA]
New Bishop Is an Eagles Fan — The Diocese of Arlington’s incoming bishop, Michael Burbidge, is a big fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins’ NFC East foe. He received the call telling him the pope had appointed him to replace Bishop Paul Loverde in Arlington during the recent Eagles-Steelers game — though he unknowingly let the call go to voicemail. [News & Observer]
Columbia Pike Fall Wine and Craft Beer Fest — Sponsored — Sample Columbia Pike’s unique wines and rare craft beers at this family-friendly, ticketed event. It’s taking place Saturday, Oct. 8 from 3-8 p.m. on Adams Street at Columbia Pike. Food and beverages from Pike restaurants will be available for purchase, and a children’s area and musical performances will keep all visitors entertained. [CPRO]
The event, held from 2-6 p.m. in the parking lot next to 220 20th Street S., features “delicious wines from Spain, Portugal, and Argentina together with food tastes from restaurants in Crystal City and the region.”
There’s also live Latin jazz, wine lessons from the Washington Wine Academy, and free salsa dancing lessons from Columbia Pike’s Salsa Room.
Crystal City says Sip and Salsa ” is the D.C. region’s only inside the Beltway, outdoor wine festival with the ease of safe and responsible transit access.”
Food and drink tickets are $20 online, while food-only tickets are $10.
The local professional football team, it should be noted, won’t be playing Sunday — the Redskins will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
Get ready to Sip, Salsa and Save with today’s Deal of the Day.
Snag a general admission ticket to the 10th annual Crystal City Sip & Salsa for only $10 (or get a food only tasting ticket for $5) and enjoy great Spanish and South American wines, delicious bites from area restaurants, live music, and, of course, salsa dancing!
That’s half off the usual price. You’ll have to hurry — only 100 discounted tickets are available and the deal ends at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Daily Discount Code: ARLnowSip
WHEN: Sunday, September 11 from 2-6 p.m.
WHERE: Parking lot at 220 20th Street S., Arlington, VA 22202
WHAT: The region’s largest inside the beltway, outdoor wine festival is celebrating its 10th year! Crystal City’s 10th Annual Sip and Salsa features delicious wines from Spain, Portugal, and Argentina, food tastes from restaurants in Crystal City and the region, great live music, and live dancing demonstrations and lessons from Columbia Pike’s Salsa Room. Part of Crystal City’s SIPtember series, enjoy a variety of sipping events with Sip & Salsa, Pups & Pilsners, Wine in the Water Park, and Crystal Screen: Sips and Sweets movie festival.
ArtJamz Underground Studio, a new “paint and sip” studio, will be opening next Friday, July 15, in Crystal City.
Located in the Crystal City Shops, at 2105-B Crystal Plaza Arcade, the 1,000 square foot public art studio and lounge will offer freestyle paint sessions, guided classes, and other private and public special events.
Studio time for customers includes art materials, an easel, a smock, two complimentary glasses of wine or one beer and local artists that are on hand to give tips and guidance.
“We really encourage original art, for people to create something unique,” said founder and CEO Michael Clements. “Our tagline is unleash your inner artist because we want our studios to be as close to what an artist would experience in their studio.”
Customers can choose from six different canvas sizes — and they’re also allowed to paint on the walls. Just for fun, fake artist mustaches and berets are offered at an additional charge.
“Our mission is make the world a more creative place,” said Clements.
Customers can book sessions online. Until opening night, ArtJamz is offering a special where patrons can book sessions using the promo code “opening16” to receive 20 percent off a reservation.
View from Central Place — An ABC 7 reporter visited one of the top floors of the still under-construction Central Place residential tower in Rosslyn. The residential building is slated to open in 2017 while a twin office tower next door is set for 2018. [Twitter]
Wine in the Waterpark Extended — Crystal City is extending its popular Friday night Wine in the Waterpark events through July. The event offers beer, wine and music in an outdoor setting. [Crystal City]
‘Women in Secularism’ Conference — A Crystal City hotel will be hosting the fourth “Women in Secularism” conference in September. The conference “brings together a diverse lineup of speakers to address what it means to be a ‘woman in secularism’ — not just in theory, but in practice.” [Women in Secularism]
Photo by Jackie Friedman
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Candy and booze are set to star in Crystal City’s al fresco film series later this year.
The Crystal City Business Improvement District’s “Sweets and Sips” flicks for Crystal Screen in September are slated to include four movies that feature chocolate and wine. Initially, the organization planned to screen Star Wars movies this summer, but were unable to show them.
“Despite earlier confirmations with the movie licensing company, rights to publicly show the Star Wars movies for the Crystal Screen outdoor movie festival were lost due to an unexpected move from the DARK SIDE!” a Crystal City BID email says. “So, we’re celebrating by drowning our sorrows in the comfort of sweets and sips.”
The email adds: “Bring a picnic or take-out from area restaurants and enjoy sips from the pop-up wine bar (cash) with hand-selected offerings from the Crystal City Wine Shop and tasty sweet samples from Crystal City‘s Schakolad.”
The movies are:
- “Willy Wonka” (1971) on Sept. 6.
- “Bottle Shock” (2008) on Sept. 13.
- “Chocolat” (2000) on Sept. 20.
- “Sideways” (2004) on Sept. 27.
Movies are scheduled to start about 30 minutes after sunset outside 1901 S. Bell Street.
Local wine and cheese retailer and restaurant Cheesetique opened its third location today in Ballston, at 800 N. Glebe Road.
“This is our biggest physical location, so I am very hopeful the model will work for us,” said store owner Jill Erber. The original location opened 12 years ago in Del Ray and the second location opened in Shirlington, at 4056 Campbell Avenue, five years ago.
The Ballston menu is identical to the other two locations. The cheese shop carries cheeses and charcuteries from all over the world, for retail sale or for dining in. Dine-in menu items include mac and cheese, grilled cheese, salads and hearty sandwiches.
“Everything on the menu is intended to feature the cheeses,” said Erber.
The wine and beer list is selected to pair with the cheeses. One unique feature about the new location is that there will be a full bar, which will be opening later this year.
For this week only, Cheesetique will only be serving lunch from 11-3 p.m. Next week, the restaurant will start its normal hours, serving lunch and dinner from 10 a.m.-11 p.m.