Wine Tasting in Washington DC: 11 Places You Have to Try

Published by: Bounce12 October, 2022

The Washington, DC, wine scene doesn't get the attention that other US wine regions like California do. After all, you won't find sprawling vineyards along the Potomac Valley the way you will in, say, Napa. But that doesn't mean wine lovers can't find something to enjoy in the nation's capital.

Washington, DC, is, in many ways, a company town. It's just that that company happens to be the federal government. And the presence of so many powerbrokers, lobbyists, and politicians in one city means you won't struggle to find a wine bar. After all, where do you think all those big deals get made? Don't be surprised to find yourself rubbing shoulders with some famous faces in a Washington tasting room or welcoming wine bar. It's just that kind of place.

Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Washington, DC, and you'll be ready to drink wine in some of the best wine bars and tasting rooms the city has to offer. These wine experiences are some of the best things to do at night in DC and are bound to make your trip even more memorable.

District Winery

Located in The Yards, one of DC's most popular waterfront districts, District Winery is exactly the place to start your journey through the city's wine culture. This urban winery sources grapes from different vineyards around the country and combines them to make unique and innovative wines right in the city. District Winery shows that you can make great wine just about anywhere, and this chic urban winery offers wine tastings and even a private wine tour to show how they combine the bounty of different grape growing regions to perfect their urban winemaking process.

District Winery also offers a wine bar and patio where you can enjoy a glass alongside some creative food pairings and enjoy the waterfront views. As you'd expect, the wine selection is impressive, and it's a perfect way to enjoy what District Winery produces after a private tour.

District Winery offers something more or less unique in Washington, DC. If you really want the traditional vineyard experience without leaving the city itself, this is where you'll find it. Beloved of Washington locals, this is a place no wine lover can afford to miss when taking a wine trip to the capital.

Location:

385 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Cork Wine Bar and Market

Well-known to wine-savvy locals, Cork Wine Bar and Market is a Washington, DC, institution and one of the best places to continue your journey through the city's wine culture. This relaxed and unpretentious wine bar offers an impressive list of wines by the glass and bottle, as well as a range of small plates to keep you going. Cork Wine Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a glass or two of your new favorite wine in the company of friends, and you're sure to find something to suit your taste on their ever-changing list. The meticulously crafted international selection ensures you'll find something to enjoy, and you may well come away with some new favorites.

Cork Wine Bar also has a market where you can pick up carefully selected cheeses, meats, and other snacks to complete your wine-tasting experience. It's the perfect place to stop before heading back to your accommodation, and you'll be able to stock up on everything you need for a luxurious home-cooked meal or picnic lunch the next day.

Location:

1805 14th St NW #7, Washington, DC 20009

Great Shoals Winery

This casual wine-tasting room just outside the city in Maryland is the perfect place to go if you're not a wine expert but are willing to learn more. Showcasing local features, including beer and cider as well as wine, this accessible wine experience is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge and try some innovative wines without feeling out of your depth. Great Shoals is a boutique wine vendor that is all about what's local and in season, and you'll find sustainably farmed wines taking pride of place on the tasting menu here.

Great Shoals offers everything from fine wines to cheap and cheerful options, so you can find something to suit every palate and every budget.

Location:

7050 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912

Loudoun Valley Vineyards

If you really can't do without a more traditional wine-tasting experience, you're in luck. Not far from the busy city, you'll find the tranquil countryside of Loudon County. And this region is home to more than 50 different vineyards, making it indisputably the wine country of Washington, DC.

You'll find an astonishing range of things to do here. Of course, there is wine tasting, and a private wine tour of this region can take you to some of the major vineyards and let you see what makes them so special. You'll also find incredible restaurants, unique experiences like grape stomping and wine bottling, yoga among the vines, and spa treatments on offer in the vineyards and at the luxury hotels that have sprung up to support them.

If you're a wine lover visiting Washington, DC, you can't afford not to make time to visit the nearest wine region to the city. Rent a car and explore at your own pace or take a private tour to sample some of the top producers. Either way, you'll have a fantastic time learning more about the unique soil, climate, and grapes of this underrated wine region.

Location:

Various in Loudoun Valley.

868 Estate Vineyards

One of the most prominent wine producers in Loudoun County, 868 Estate Vineyards is a family-run business that has been making award-winning wine since 2012. The vineyard is open for tastings, and you can also take a tour of the grounds to learn more about how the wine is made.

868 Estate Vineyards produces a range of red and white wines, as well as a sparkling wine which is perfect for celebrating a special occasion. If you're visiting with friends, you might want to try one of their private tastings, which are held in a beautifully converted barn on the property. Whatever your preference, you're sure to find something to enjoy at 868 Estate Vineyards.

Location:

14001 Harpers Ferry Rd, Purcellville, VA 20132

Crushed Cellars

Another Loudoun County vineyard close to Washington, DC, Crushed Cellars is a great place to visit if you're looking for a more intimate wine-tasting experience. The small-scale operation means that you'll be able to chat with the owner and winemaker about the vineyard, the wine-making process, and what makes their wines special.

Crushed Cellars produces a range of red and white wines, as well as a rose which is perfect for summer days. They also make a delicious dessert wine which is ideally paired with cheese or fruit. Whatever your preference, you're sure to find something to enjoy at Crushed Cellars.

Location:

37938 Charles Town Pike, Purcellville, VA 20132

Heyser Farms Winery

Another family-run vineyard within Loudoun County, Heyser Farms Winery grows and produces award-winning wines just waiting to be sampled. They open their tasting room daily for tours, special events, and of course, wine tastings and are linked to Great Shoals Winery.

The brains behind the operation love introducing new people to their array of wines and teaching others about the unique terroir of this Maryland wine region. The farm also has a small store where you can purchase items right from the growers.

Location:

14526 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20904

Leesburg Vintner

If you're looking for a more traditional wine-tasting experience, Leesburg Vintner is the perfect place for you. This wine store has been curating wines since 2007, offering a range of sparkling, red, and white wines for you to try before you buy.

The focus here is on stocking Loudoun County wines, but they do offer a selection of international options as well.

Location

29 S King St, Leesburg, VA 20175

Chez Billy Sud

Loudoun Valley is an essential place to explore for wine lovers in Washington, DC. But if you'd prefer to stay in the city, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on some great wine-tasting experiences. Chez Billy Sud is another well-known Washington, DC, institution, and this French restaurant serves some exquisite dishes along with well-curated wine flights that can elevate your meal to the next level. Located in a classic American colonial storefront, the cozy atmosphere of this restaurant provides a welcoming place to try something new.

Whether you're a wine lover or just looking for a new place to eat, Chez Billy Sud is definitely worth a visit.

Location:

1039 31st St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Zachys

Every great wine city needs an exceptional wine store, and that's where Zachys DC comes in. Washington, DC, certainly isn't short of boutique wine stores, but Zachys stands out for its comprehensive collection and knowledgeable staff. This is the perfect place to start your search if you're looking to buy a bottle (or two).

Zachys also offers regular wine tastings, so it's a great place to explore new wines and find new favorites. The store is located in the heart of DC, so it's easy to get to whether you're staying in the city or just visiting for the day. Their incredible wine selection makes them a must-visit if you're looking for a bottle to bring home as a souvenir or as a gift for someone special, and the regular tasting events ensure you can try before you buy and make sure you're getting something truly special.

Location:

3521 V St NE, Washington, DC 20018

DC Wine Fest

Held in October to coincide with the wine harvest, the DC Wine Fest is a great opportunity to sample a wide range of wines from all over the world. With over 100 different wines to try, as well as food trucks and live music, this event is fun for wine lovers and novices alike.

If this event coincides with your trip to DC, consider yourself lucky. It offers the best bang for your buck (or time, in this case). You can try so many different wines that your head will probably start to spin!

Location:

1234 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Conclusion

Washington, DC, doesn't have the reputation for wine that some other cities do, but don't let that mislead you. The region is home to a productive wine area in the form of the Loudoun Valley, and the wine bars and restaurants of the city are fabulous places to do some wine tasting and try something new. If you're a wine fan, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained here.

Of course, there's more to Washington, DC, than just wine tasting. The city is simply packed with excellent museums, historical monuments, and cultural attractions. If you're pressed for time, check out our guide on how to spend three days in Washington for some guidance on what's truly essential to see here.

And as always, don't forget to leave your heavy bags behind at a Bounce luggage storage. Traveling light will make it much easier to enjoy everything Washington, DC, has to offer, from wine tasting to sightseeing to excellent food.

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