Wining the Potomac

It’s Harvest time in Virginia and there are loads of fun things to do, see and taste!  I loved the idea in the following article combining a unique venue, education and excellent wines!  A win-win for wine lovers!  Check it out if  you would like to enjoy a unique Happy Hour on the Potomac!  It looks like it would be fun and a beautiful time of year to be on the river in D.C.  Somebody please go and let me know how it was!

By the way, this photo has nothing to do with the cruise below, but my friend Paulette Musselman shot this during harvest at Glass House Winery in Free Union and I loved it!  Thanks, Paulette for sharing!

Set Sail for Virginia Wine Month With Washington Wine Academy Cruises

http://w w w ine-month-w ith-w ashington-w ine-academy-cruises-2/ October 9, 2011

The Washington Wine Academy is celebrating Virginia Wine Month by bringing vino from ten vineyards a little closer to DC.

The Academy is hosting a series of cruises featuring 25 wines — about a dozen will be served during each cruise — from Rappahannock Cellars, Boxwood Winery, Breaux Vineyards, Pearmund Cellars, Linden Vineyards, Winery at La Grange, Barboursville Vineyard, Ingleside, Vint Hill Craft Winery and Whitehall Vineyard. Cheese from Cabot Creamery, as well as artisan Virginia snacks such as ham and peanuts, will also be served.

The Friday cruises will leave from Gangplank Marina in Washington DC on 700 Water St. SW, and spend 90 minutes on the Potomac River. Each trip will be capped at about 140 guests, and organizers expect a number of sell-outs.

“We really enjoy the wine from the vineyards we invited. Education is key. Virginia wine isn’t the same now as it was even a few years ago, and we’re happy to be able to demonstrate that to the attendees,” Washington Wine Academy’s Kellie Shevlin said.

The opportunity is a welcome one for wineries looking to forge a stronger presence inside the Beltway. John Delmare, owner of Rappahannock Cellars, located more than an hour outside of DC in Huntly, VA said the biggest draw was being able to showcase his wine to consumers in the core of his target region: DC.

“We don’t have that opportunity often,” Delmare said.

“We are seeing amazing growth in the recognition of Virginia wines as a real “player” in the national wine landscape,” said Chris Pearmund, Executive Winemaker at three of the featured wineries — Vint Hill, The Winery at La Grange and Pearmund Cellars.

“The cruises are a great way to bring Virginia wine to DC, so those that might not venture out to the wine country can get a taste of the amazing wine our industry is producing,” he added.

Vint Hill co-owner Lance Heflin said his craft winery plans to feature products made by its amateur vintners as well as bottles from its professional portfolio including Enigma, a red blend whose name reflects the roots of Vint Hill’s Warrenton location. The barn where its wine is made was once home to the original NSA.

Back-to-back warm summers precipitated bumper crops for many Virginia vineyards, although the heavy rains of early September may knock those numbers down in some locations. Delamare said the sunny summer boosted Rappahannock’s Merlot yield, which will be released as a single varietal next year alongside a “fizzy” rosé made from a blend of red grape varieties.

For other winemakers, the draw is the cruises’ unique venue.

“I sincerely think that when wine is enjoyed in the right surrounding, atmosphere, landscape and with friends, it is elevated to a much higher purpose and is greatly appreciated,” said Barboursvillewinemaker Luca Paschina. “I believe that is going to happen on these cruises. That is why I chose to participate.”

Boxwood‘s Rachel Martin said that her vineyard jumped at the opportunity to get in front of more local wine consumers.

“Our wines are not cheap, but the vineyard has a rich history,” she said. Boxwood, whose winemaking operation is a National Historic Landmark in Middleburg, VA will be featuring its dry rosé and Topiary Red, which is a Cabernet Franc-heavy blend.

“It’s important to get people on board with regional products, and that includes wine. As long as the quality is there, you should enjoy it.”

The cruises will be held October 7, 14, 21 and 28 departing at at 6:30 and 8:30 pm from the Gangplank Marina in DC. Tickets are $55.00 per person. Register online at

Inaugural DC Wine Week

In September, wine blog the Daily Sip reported that DC led the nation in wine consumption in 2009 at 6.6 gallons per capita. This month, local oenophiles will gather to show why DC is number one in vino.

DCeventjunkie & Pivot Point Communications are planning a celebration of all things wine — from restaurant and bar specials, wine-pairing menus to wine-themed events — to be held October 15 to 22. Education seminars and events around the DMV region will also feature selections from local wineries. Updates can be found on Facebook at and the DC Wine Week website.

DC Wine Week: Oct. 15 -22;; Twitter @DCWineWeek.

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