Take a scenic ride through the back roads of Northern Virginia's Loudoun County on the way to a wine trip you’ll not soon forget to discover the best wineries in Northern VA — all with women winemakers.
I love exploring Northern Virginia for its scenery, history, tasty cuisine, and wine. One of the best aspects of my travels throughout the area was the talented women winemakers working wonders at the wineries in Northern VA, particularly those in Loudoun County. The more I dug into this story, the more impressed I was with the dedication, quality, and humble nature of these ladies of the wine world. Let’s take a scenic ride through the back roads that sometimes turn into narrow tree-lined dirt roads on the way to a wine trip you’ll not soon forget to discover the best wineries in Northern VA.
Maggie Malick Wine Caves
The job as a winemaker is challenging enough without adding a full-time job offsite to the mix. With that in mind, Maggie Malick's day job as an aerospace engineer is a crazy-cool professional mix. Malick splits her time between aerospace engineering and head winemaker at Maggie Malick Wine Caves, producing a lineup of 25 wines at the time of this writing.
Plan on spending at least a couple of hours at Malick's 215-acre winery where kids and dogs are welcome. There's plenty of room to run and enjoy a picnic by the pond.
With so many wines to choose from, you’re sure to find some good enough to take home. Red wine lovers will like the Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Tannat, or Tango-a port-style wine. I especially liked the Albariño, Chardonnay, and Dry Petite Manseng.
Malick has won more than 150 prestigious wine awards in the recent past, making her one of the most notable winemakers I know. She received the honor as Winemaker of the Year from Loudoun Wineries Association as the best of the wineries of Northern VA. Last year alone, Malick's vineyards produced over 127 tons of estate-grown grapes for crafting wines. Come to Maggie Malick Wine Caves for the wine but also the farm-charm of this estate.
Two Twisted Posts Winery
With so many wineries along Harpers Ferry Road in Loudoun County, Virginia, it was easy to stop in at Two Twisted Posts Winery to get a taste of what they had to offer. I visited with my dog Sophie that day, and we had a picnic table to ourselves.
Two Twisted Posts is one of the smallest wineries on the list, but they have the best Chardonnay I’ve had anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic. This oaked beauty grabbed me from the first sip, begging me to take some home. I also enjoyed the Traminette and Petite Verdot.
Like some of the other winemakers on this list, Theresa Robertson has a day job. She works as a full-time accountant while not at the winery. Her husband Brad handles the vineyard management when not at his offsite full-time job. I like that Two Twisted Posts takes an eco-friendly approach to grape growing learned from their family’s years of farming experience.
Cana Vineyards and Winery
One of the reasons I wanted to visit Cana Vineyards and Winery in Middleburg was to taste Melanie Natoli’s wines. She is the winner of the Woman Winemaker of the Year at the Women’s International Wine Competition in 2017.
Since I brought my dog along, I was welcome to sit outside and enjoyed the view and wines immensely. The 2018 Le Mariage was one of the best red wines I tasted in my exploration of wineries in Northern VA. This red-blend combines Merlot and Petit Verdot in a silky-smooth food-friendly wine.
Cana has an upstairs tasting room for adults only, with an outdoor seating area to view their 43-acre farm and the surrounding countryside. I was so comfortable at Cana I hated to leave so soon and figured a stay of 2 to 3 hours would be best for the next visit. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic even though Cana offers light fare of cheese, crackers, charcuterie, etc.
Large groups will like the recently added Sunset Pavilion that can accommodate up to 200 guests after hours or fewer guests during regular hours. Their after-hours facilities are available to rent seven days per week.
Chrysalis Vineyards at The Ag District
It’s not very often I visit a winery as diverse as Chrysalis Vineyards. Not only is this a winery, but the Little River Bakehouse and Locksley Farmstead Cheese are two other good reasons to visit.
With so much going on in one winery, I asked owner Jenni McCloud what her duties were, and she replied, “Since 1996, my full-time occupation has been establishing these artisan foods/products businesses. I made wines with winemaker/consultant Alan Kinne in 1996 and bought the first of two parcels here in early 1998. In 2008, I added another 202+ contiguous acres, bringing the total to 412 acres, which we call The Ag District. I’m intimately involved in our grape-growing and winemaking but leave the cheese-making to our talented cheese-makers.”
Don’t miss the lineup of Norton wines at Chrysalis. Jenni is on a mission to make Norton wines well known amongst wine lovers. I enjoyed all six types of Norton wines I tasted on my two visits and bought the Norton Barrel Select and Norton, Schitz&Giggels to take home.
The pizza, bread, and cheese are excellent to pair with your wine while visiting or to take home. There’s no lack of seating choices indoors or outdoors and plenty of parking as well.
Articles Related to the Wineries in Northern VA
- Wonderful Women Winemakers of Maryland Wineries
- Albemarle Ciderworks: Sipping VA Hard Apple Cider
- Virginia Wines at Chateau Morrisette
- 5 Things You Need to Do on Your Next Wine Tour
- Clifton Inn: Southern Charm, History & Luxury
- The Ultimate Guide to 2 Days in Charlottesville, VA
- Coeur d’Alene Boasts Wines From Top-Notch Idaho Wineries
When Exploring the Wineries in Northern VA
This story was one of my most fun projects to research and write about in 2021. I was surprised with the quality of the wine, the tasting facilities, and the relaxed nature of touring Loudoun County and experiencing the wineries in Northern VA. Spring and fall are my favorite time of year to visit due to cooler weather and fewer crowds. To get the most of this journey, consider taking two days and having a designated driver.
One of the things that stuck out when interviewing these women winemakers is that some of them don’t see any reason to differentiate wine made by women from men. I agree but wanted to shed light on the ladies and their skills. When the wine touring day is done, the most crucial aspect is the quality of the wine. All of the above Loudoun County wineries get my vote for a return visit and buying wines for my cellar. I believe you will also be impressed with the wine these ladies make and will enjoy a taste of wines courtesy of the wineries in Northern VA. Be sure to check out Wander for more great wineries Around the World or Across the Street™. We also have more suggestions for things to do when you visit Virginia.