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Three To See on the Fauquier County Wine Trail

Story written and provided by Ginger Warder

While many of Virginia’s more than 300 wineries are dog-friendly to some degree, there are a handful of vintners that roll out the red carpet—and the doggie ice cream—for Fido! Named by Wine Enthusiast and many local Virginians as the most dog and family-friendly winery in the state, Barrel Oak Winery and Brewery(BOW) is an easy drive from the Washington metro area and welcomes well-behaved, leashed pooches in the tasting room, on the patio, and on the property’s hiking trails. The award-winning winery—winner of two gold medals in the 2023 Virginia Governor’s Cup for their 2021 Vidal Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc—keeps special treats and doggie gelatos  on hand for their four-legged visitors and hosts a variety of fundraisers and dog-centric events throughout the year. Under new ownership, the property has undergone extensive renovations from fresh paint and new furnishings to a new deli section. Formerly known as The Taphouse, the Brewery has up to eight unique craft beers on tap at any given time.

While all of the wineries on the Fauquier County Wine Trail are worthy of a visit, there are two that are on the must-visit list for oenophiles—Linden Vineyards and RdV Vineyards. You must make advance reservations at both vineyards and note that these are serious educational wine tastings for adults-only (no children and no pets). Prepare for your visit by reviewing expert tips on wine tasting from wine judge and author Richard Leahy.

Jim Law is one of Virginia’s legendary winemakers. He doesn’t “make” wine—he “grows” it and is happiest out in the Hardscrabble estate vineyard that surrounds the winery building. It includes some of the original vines planted in 1985, although Linden grows grapes on two additional sites. What was once an apple orchard now produces exceptional Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux variety red blends in what wine critics have referred to as a vine-to-table approach. Tasting groups are limited in size and feature several flights of wines comparing vintage or terroir influences.

Remarkable Cabernet blend-complex, velvety and world class. A revelation” said renowned wine authority, Robert Parker,Jr. of RdV’s Lost Mountain. RdV describes it as “the ultimate expression of our land, evoking the spirit of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains” and says it is both stylistically and geographically between Bordeaux and Napa, grown on a steep and craggy slope that covers a vast layer of granite. The RdV Tasting Experience is all about the terroir and includes a guided visit of the winery and caves, a choice of either a vertical or comparative wine flight and a seasonal charcuterie and cheese board.

Fauquier County is a wonderful place for enjoying wineries. There are many wineries with nearby hikes, vineyard views with amazing fall foliage and others that are perfect for a cozy wine tasting.