Chasing the grape and hop

By Posted on Oct 06 2018 | By

October’s riot of color perfect time to visit county wineries and breweries

The urge to celebrate during the fall months may well be part of our DNA. As far back as man’s cultivation of the earth, the harvest of his labors was a celebratory time.

As time progressed and crop development advanced, the joy of gathering the fruits of one’s work began to crystallize into organized celebrations and festivals.

The joy was generated by two accomplishments: ample food to sustain the community and the freedom of not having to work the fields during the winter months.

It was hunkering down time.

Festivals typically occurred around the autumnal equinox; about September 22 in the northern hemisphere and March 20 in the southern hemisphere. The events ranged from religious services, extravagant dinners, music performances, and distributing food to the poor.

America’s first Thanksgiving took place in October 1621 and was attended by both the Pilgrims and Native Americans. It set the stage for one of the most revered holidays in the United States.

Today, our connection with farming and harvesting is tenuous at best. Industrial agriculture provides all the foodstuffs we need to thrive. Yet, the urge to celebrate in the fall retains its hold on communities worldwide.

There’s no better way to embrace these subliminal urges during the fall season than touring the numerous wineries and breweries in Fauquier County.

Social lubricants & advice
The explosive opening of wineries and breweries nationwide over the last few decades have been remarkable. There are now over 8,700 wineries and 6,300 breweries in the United States. Toss in cideries and distilleries and the opportunity to share in the bounty of grapes, barley, hops and apples is ubiquitous.

Fauquier County is home to 26 wineries, four breweries, and two cideries. But the four counties bordering Fauquier expands the opportunity for a fun-filled afternoon of picnicking and responsible sipping to dozens of establishments.

To further deepen the experience, Mother Nature has chosen the fall season to drape herself in a riotous mantel of reds and golds. This is going to be an enjoyable travel assignment.

Here’s some advice as you undertake your “freewheeling fun fall flight from frustration”.

First, don’t attempt to visit more than two or three establishments in a day. Relax. Take your time. Your understanding and appreciation of the libations will reveal themselves more fully if you simply slow down.

The old chestnut, “haste makes waste”, should become your three-word management plan for extracting maximum enjoyment from each “drinkery” you visit.

Consider taking occasional behind the scene tours at businesses that offer them. You’ll gain greater insight into how wine, beer, whiskey and cider are produced, enriching your understanding of both the simplicity–and complexity–of its production. Availing yourself of free tours is an educational opportunity that will deepen your delight of the finished product.

Make observations on tasting note sheets to learn which places you have enjoyed visiting. A file kept at home will refresh you on the drinks you found most delightful. It can also lead to a compilation of your “Top Ten” favorite establishments.

Engage your fellow tasters during your tastings. Interesting exchanges unfold as strangers begin a conversation about their mutual love of the product in the glass. Don’t be surprised if you meet people from distant states, or even overseas. Virginia’s tourism draws guests from points worldwide.

Ask questions freely. Your hosts will enjoy educating you on a variety of libation related subjects. Knowledgeable employees take pleasure in educating guests on their livelihood.

While many of the places on your itinerary provide some food, almost all of them have no objections to bringing your own. If ever there was a good reason to pack a picnic basket, visiting county libation centers tops the list.

For a list of county wineries, pop the cork at: http://www.visitfauquier.com/things-to-do/wineries.

The four breweries to investigate are Barrel Oak Tap House, Old Bust Head Brewing Company, Powers Farm Brewery and Wort Hog Brewing Company.

The two cideries are bonus combo-paks: Cobbler Mountain Winery & Cidery and Old Trade Brewery and Cidery.

Let the fun begin.


Published in the October 3, 2018 edition of the Fauquier Times.   


Categories : WINE ARTICLES