Skip to content

Long Weekend Getaways: How to Sip Your Way Around Virginia Wine Country

June 29, 2018
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

As part of a series on long weekend getaways, we’re showing you how to make the most of your summer Fridays, school breaks and the season’s extra-long days. Check back every week for inspired itineraries and easy city escapes.

You don’t have to fly across the country to Napa and Sonoma for high-quality wine. If you live in the DC metro area, you’re just an hour and a half drive (depending on how clogged the Beltway is on Friday) from hundreds of acres of unspoiled vineyards growing high-quality grapes.

The Piedmont region of Virginia covers a wide swath of rural landscape that’s ideal for grape growing. It’s lush, serene and full of exciting places to eat and drink. (If you’re not a wine drinker, beer and whiskey are also being produced here.)

Charlottesville — home to the University of Virginia — is the largest city nearby, but we recommend spending your time in its surrounding countryside, which has a lot to offer travelers beyond simply eating and drinking (though we won’t fault you if that’s all you want to do). Here are five ways to spend a blissful long summer weekend exploring Virginia's wine country.

Stay at the Inn at Little Washington

If you’ve got the funds, the Inn at Little Washington is a must. Led by owner and chef Patrick O’Connell, the Inn — which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year — is home to one of the most awarded restaurants in the country. Make your dinner reservations early, opt for the wine pairing and be sure to order the cheese course (trust us). After a meal like that, you likely won’t be able to move too far, so sleepover in one of the Inn’s French countryside-inspired rooms.

Book with your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card at Hotels.com to earn 10x miles on your stay through Jan. 31, 2020. (You can also take advantage of the Hotels.com Rewards program to earn one free night for every 10 paid nights, effectively boosting your return to 20% when you pay with the Venture card.)

Bonus: On Saturdays during the summer and fall, the Inn hosts a local makers market with goods from their neighbors like the Farm at Sunnyside and Bread & Water.

Take a winery tour

There are dozens of wineries in the region, so you can easily find some just by driving around the area and following signs. If you want more structure, one of our favorites is Barboursville Vineyard, housed in a classic stone building from the 1800s. Its flagship red Bordeaux blend, Octagon, is rightly acclaimed and (if you ask nicely), you can forage for black walnuts and hen of the woods mushrooms on the expansive property.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For a full range of Virginia wines, head to Early Mountain Vineyards, owned by AOL founder Steve Case. Aside from producing their own tasty bottles (try the just-released 2017 rosé), they serve a wide range of Virginia wines in their tasting room, so it’s a great way to taste vintages from a variety of local vineyards all in one stop. Other vineyards worth stopping at include Rappahannock Cellars, Michael Shaps Wineworks and Glen Manor Vineyards.

(Photo courtesy of Copper Fox Distillery)
(Photo courtesy of Copper Fox Distillery)

Save room for beer, whiskey and food

Not everyone is a wine person. (Or maybe you don’t discriminate, and you want to try it all.) The adorable town of Sperryville — just over an hour from Charlottesville — happens to be the home of two craft breweries, a distillery and a high-end tasting menu. Hopkins Ordinary is a small B&B in Sperryville that brews its own beer in the cellar using just one barrel and local barley malted by neighbors Copper Fox Distillery. It has a three-seat tasting room and a patio that morphs into a (super low-key) bar on weekends during warmer months.

Down the road are Penn Druid, an experimental small-batch brewery that uses wild yeast in their excellent beers, and Copper Fox Distillery, which makes bourbon, rye and single malt whiskey. They offer free tours every day and tastings can be had for a small fee. Because all that booze will probably make you hungry, reserve a table at the newly minted Three Blacksmiths, which is a tasting menu only affair highlighting handcrafted foods from Rappahannock County and nearby for just 16 diners a night.

Go on a wellness retreat

If you’re looking for a more health-conscious getaway, the Piedmont region is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, meaning there are stellar hiking opportunities at a range of levels. Shenandoah National Park is a good place to start — it has 200,000 acres of forest, trails and waterfalls to explore. For a complete wellness retreat, visit the newly-opened Eupepsia Wellness Center on 256 acres near the Jefferson National Forest. The only other Eupepsia location is in Dubai. At the Virginia property, travelers can participate in retreats designed to help them distress and relax; or to aid with fitness and weight management. The spa’s facilities include a hydrotherapy area, a salt cave, hot stone chairs and flotation therapy pools. There’s also a state-of-the-art fitness center; yoga and meditation; and horseback riding.

Learn about US history

This region is full of history and it’s home to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home and plantation, which is open to visitors. Various tours are offered, including one focused on the Hemings family — slaves to the Jeffersons — and another inspired by the hit Broadway show, "Hamilton: An American Musical." And President James Madison’s estate, Montpelier, is not too far away and has a comprehensive multimedia exhibit on slavery, a Constitution-focused tour, and a tour that highlights First Lady Dolley and other women of the estate.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.