One of my favorite things about living in Northern Virginia is enjoying a bottle and the scenery at one of our many local wineries. Like many of us, though, I tend to associate a winery outing with a sunny summer afternoon and a picnic basket. Then February comes along. Winter really takes the fun out of a hillside game of cornhole.
I hopped online and looked into wineries that could be fun in the winter. I pictured a large indoor space with a cozy fireplace and comfortable seating. I wanted a variety of tasty wines. And since I’d be bringing my two kids, I needed it to be family-friendly. Bonus points would go to one that also welcomed my dog inside. My dog needs a change of scenery in the winter, too.
Then I learned about Potomac Point Winery and decided to try it out. It welcomed children and dogs, it had the requisite fireplace, and its online reviews were great. I packed up the family and drove south.
Potomac Point Winery is located in Stafford, Virginia, near Quantico Marine Base. It’s located south on I-95, about an hour’s drive from Reston. This time of year the vines are bare, but the view is still pretty as you approach the main building.
We visited on a weekday afternoon, so the place was mostly empty. I’d never gone to a winery on a weekday before, and I quickly learned that this is the way to do it. Apparently Potomac Point can be crowded on many weekends, but on this Wednesday we had plenty of room to move around and time to chat with the staff.
Potomac Point’s large tasting room has a Tuscan theme and a large, four-sided bar. Rows of wine bottles are available for sale, as well as olive oils, snacks, and gifts. They also have a restaurant called the Bistro, which offers a lunch and dinner menu. Hours of operation vary during the week, so check their schedule before you make plans to dine there. We didn’t visit the Bistro, so I don’t have any experience to share about it.
The owner’s Aussie shepherd, Chianti, greeted us as we arrived. She was a sweet and gentle little buddy who kept us company as we tasted the wines. She even calmly tolerated my one-year-old hugging her too much. She also seemed pleased to meet our dog, who was welcomed inside the tasting room. Purse hooks along the bar were convenient spots to attach our dog’s leash.
Adjoining the tasting room is the D’Vine lounge, which has the fireplace and comfy couches I was looking for. It also has a bar and furniture made from wine barrels, and several tables to relax for an afternoon. Board games are available in the lounge to help you fill a lazy, cozy winter afternoon.
Dogs are not permitted in the D’Vine lounge, so if you plan to spend a lot of time in this room, you may want to leave Fido at home.
The tasting room also has a fireplace, but no seating. The bar is spacious and the whole room feels bright and pleasant. The best part of the room for me, though, is through the doors that you see on the right side, behind the bar…
…Those doors lead to a children’s room! They call it the “Lil Buds Room,” and it’s designed to keep young kids happily occupied while parents taste the wines. It’s filled with toys, books, beanbag chairs, a TV, and lots of movies on DVD. Parents can stand at the bar directly next to the children’s room, and keep an eye on their little ones while taking a much-deserved adult break.
While the kids were enjoying the play room, we sampled several wines, hosted by a friendly and knowledgeable staff member named Genevieve. We were surprised how many of the wines we enjoyed. Usually there will be two or three wines that I want to buy after a wine tasting, but at Potomac Point I had a hard time choosing between several that I truly enjoyed.
One of our favorites was the Chardonnay, which was crisp and light, and more fruity than buttery, without being sweet. I think my favorite white, though was the La Belle Vie White, which was a blend of Vidal, Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli, Viognier, and Petit Manseng. It was slightly sweet, but also crisp and refreshing. Genevieve described it as a perfect patio wine, and I can agree with that. I bought a few bottles, just in case patio season ever arrives.
I was looking forward to trying their highly-acclaimed Viognier, but unfortunately it was unavailable that day.
I was surprised to discover that I liked the Merlot, which isn’t usually one of my preferred varietals. It was more complex and flavorful than I’d expect, but still subtle. They also have a raspberry Merlot that none of us expected to like, but all of us did.
We enjoyed the story of their Vino Camino, which is a wine created by their Spanish winemaker, David Pagan Castaño. It’s a blend of Spanish Monastrell and Virginian Cabernet Franc, to symbolize his cultural homeland combined with his adopted Virginian home.
As we’d expected, we also enjoyed their excellent Cabernet Franc and Richland Reserve Heritage 2010.
Their trophy case is impressive, with awards that include gold and silver medals from the Virginia Governors Cup for their Richland Reserve and Cabernet Franc. Their Viognier was ranked by the Beverage Wine Institute in 2011 as the best Viognier of the East Coast.
Potomac Point has also been granted several awards for their wedding venue, outdoor dining, and scenic views.
When the weather gets warmer, a courtyard next to the tasting room will offer a pretty spot to relax outdoors.
There is also a patio adjoining the ballroom that overlooks the rolling hill, vineyards, and sunset.
If you want to stick around after sunset, this winery is open later than most. It’s open until 6pm on weekdays, but on Fridays and Saturdays it stays open until 9:30pm.
I will definitely return to Potomac Point Winery, and I recommend that you try it. It was a great choice for a cold winter’s day, and I imagine it will be even better when we can sit outside on their lovely patios.
They also host lots of events throughout the year, including Valentine’s Day events this coming weekend. Valentine reservations are filling fast, so hurry if you are interested. You might also want to check out their upcoming Winemaker’s Dinner with a Lady and the Tramp theme, or their Uncork’d Art classes.
Or just relax by the fire with a bottle and a board game, and count the days left until spring (38).