NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Here We Go A Wassailing in Leesburg, VA

By: Michelle Harper

Tarara WineryIn the true holiday "spirit" and with the idea of "Make Mine Virginia Wine" in mind, Virginiawind decided to pay a visit to Tarara Winery located just ten miles outside of Leesburg, VA on Route 662.

Though wine was produced in Virginia as early as 1607, Tarara has only been around since 1985 but in that short time, this "retirement project" for RJ (Whitie) and Margaret Hubert, has grown into something much larger than a hobby. Located in the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains and neighboring the Potomac River, the 475-acre farm offers spectacular scenic views of the countryside. Tarara is open all year and offers informative and interesting tours, wine tasting and a gift shop.

Man made caveThe tour is conducted in the winery's man-made 6000 foot cave, which is a marvel in itself. The thick gunite walls keep the temperature at a constant 58 degrees, perfect for winemaking. The walls are lined with wine barrels and stainless steel tanks containing the future 13 varieties of wines produced at Tarara. The cave also houses the wine maker's laboratory where the vineyards Australian winemaker blends together the art and science of winemaking to produce award-winning results.

Christmas tree and wine barrelsThe tour also includes a detailed explanation of the process of winemaking, which surprisingly enough hasn't changed much over the past hundred years. The process itself is relatively simple crush/press/catch/ferment but through the years the techniques have become more refined and the tools modernized to produce spectacular results. This year promises to be a good one for Tarara as the drought brought perfect conditions for the grapes. Less water means higher sugar concentration, which in turn makes for great wines. Anticipation is high for the approximately 7000 cases of wine that will be produced at Tarara this year.

Antique wine pressOf course, the "proof is in the pudding" or in this case, the proof is in the wine (tasting). The day would not be complete without sampling the wines produced at Tarara. For $5.00, you are provided a lesson on the art of wine tasting, as well as sampling the wines produced from the vineyard. As an added bonus, you will receive a complementary glass. Once you have found something to your liking, the gift shop offers bottles for sale.

If you want to extend your visit into a romantic getaway, Tarara is also a Bed & Breakfast. During your visit you can just sip wine by the fireplace, picnic or fish in the farm's 10-acre lake. For those interested in more activity, there are 6 miles of trails to hike and a lighted tennis court.


River view from tarara deckIn addition to its daily tours and wine tasting, Tarara offers numerous special events throughout the year. In the summer there is the Blackberry Days Wine Festival, Mid-Summer Music Fest along the lake and Sunset Dinners on the Deck. Fall offers the Apple Days Gala and Oktober Wine Fest. Winter provides a wide variety of holiday activities and treats including a Holiday Winemaker's Dinner and Caroles in the cave. Tarara even has a way to help warm your spirit's in the heart of winter by offering Midwinter Blues' Blues in January.


In the caveWhether it is a nice ride out into the country, an educational experience or just to treat yourself to some great Virginia wine, Tarara is the perfect place to spend the day or even the entire weekend.





Directions: From Leesburg take Rt 15 N to Lucketts and a right on Route 662. Go 3 miles to sign and driveway on left. Follow signs to parking.
13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg, VA 20176
Tours and Tastings: Daily 11 am - 5 pm

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