First off, I apologize for not posting in some time. Things have been busy with the fall semester starting back (I am working on a Ph.D.) and work at the office picking up.
A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane. Though I’ve seen the building many times driving down I-66, I never stopped by. Unfortunately for me, on the day we visited it was pouring rain which didn’t make for very good pictures (all photos are courtesy of Barrel Oak’s website). Four of us visited, my parents came along with Katie and I, and the place was packed. This was probably more due to the weather and outdoor seating not being an option.
The first thing I noticed was they have a lot going on; more than the usual northern Virginia winery has on any given Saturday. This was not a wine club day, so my impression was that there is usually this much activity. They had music, multiple tasting stations, a mobile brick oven pizza booth, and more. If you are more into wineries that are strictly about the wine, then this is probably not going to be your thing. But, for families or the casual wine drinker, I would say it is a go-to. Barrel Oak was ranked #1 family-friendly winery in 2012 by Wine Enthusiast so they are clearly trying to stick with that theme. One other note about the atmosphere: DOGS, and lots of them. They pride themselves on being dog friendly. My dad, who is the more traditional wine drinker, did not like it, but he was clearly in the minority!
On to the wine. Barrel Oak’s wine has racked up some impressive awards to include a Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle’s competition in 2012 for their Reserve Chardonnay and a Gold Medal in the 2009 Governor’s Cup for their Cabernet Franc. The tasting itself was not the usual style in which everyone tastes the same set of wines. Instead, they give you a list of 3-4 wines grouped into a few different varieties. For example, my parents and I all picked the “Regally Rich and Rewarding” group which came with a Chardonnay, Merlot, and Norton. Katie picked the “Big, Bold. and Bracing” group that included the Reserve Chardonnay, a Cab Franc, and a Petit Verdot. Each group ranges from $4 to $7 for a tasting so, conceivably, you could taste all 12 wines for $20. I ended up getting a glass of the Norton. I will say that Katie probably made the best choice because she ended up with the Reserve Chardonnay which was exceptional (not the one that took Double Gold in San Francisco).
If you are looking for a solid, family friendly winery in northern Virginia, you can’t go wrong with Barrel Oak Winery. The general atmosphere and offerings of are above par. They are apart of the Fauquier County Wine Trail and the Vintage Piedmont group.
You can fine Barrel Oak Winery on Twitter.