Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hartwood Winery’s Mid-Summer Festival

Thanks as always to the calendar of events in the Free Lance-Star’s Weekender section, I saw that Hartwood Winery was having a “Mid-Summer Festival” today and tomorrow. Admission is $10 per person, and although I usually balk at paying that much for events (especially ones that are designed to try to sell me something), I needed a blogworthy outing, so I sucked it up and went. We hadn’t been out there since shortly after they opened many years ago, so I guess it was about time for a return trip.

It actually turned out to be not a bad deal: For the price of admission, we each got a complimentary wineglass (two more to add to my growing wineglass collection consisting entirely of souvenir glasses from festivals and wineries), and got to sample a total of 17 wines, from both the Hartwood Winery and Cooper Vineyards in Louisa (and the Hartwood folks were pouring “tastes” that were 2 or 3 mouthfuls). We took a short “tour” of the winemaking cellar (is it actually a tour if you stand in one place the whole time?), and our guide was happy to answer all of our post-tour questions. There was a small buffet of snack foods, acoustic guitarist Gerry Maddox sang on the front porch, and tables and chairs were set up inside and out for anyone wanting to sit for awhile with a glass of wine or a picnic lunch. The farm winery’s country setting, right on Rt. 612 on the road to Curtis Park in Stafford, is downright pastoral. And the wine has improved tremendously over the years—we found several (particularly the whites) that we thought were excellent.

The festival continues tomorrow from 11 am-5 pm, so here’s my advice: go out to Hartwood with a couple of friends, bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, buy a bottle of wine, and while away the afternoon listening to music and relaxing on the grounds. If you miss this weekend, consider checking out their Harvest Festival in the fall.

The tasting room is the main floor of this unassuming ranch home, and the winemaking operation is in the basement:

Lots of wines to taste:

The lovely country setting:

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