JH Breaux Vineyards 17Fall is my favorite season in Loudoun. The days are pleasantly warm, the nights crisp and cool. The countryside transitions into a warm palette of autumn colors as the leaves change to various shades of gold and crimson and fall produce including pumpkins, apples, and gourds fill the market stands. The fall festivals and farm attractions begin celebrating the harvest, grateful for the season’s bounty. What better time of year to celebrate Virginia wine?

October is Virginia Wine Month. By October, our Loudoun wineries have mostly completed the harvest, crushed their fruit, and begun the fermentation process to produce that year’s vintage. The early rains in spring and high temperatures this summer ripened the fruit early, bringing harvest ahead of schedule by as much a month in some vineyards, and all signs indicate that 2010 is going to be an incredible vintage for Loudoun. If you’re looking to learn more about the winemaking process, this is a great time to tour the wineries and see how our talented winemakers transform the fruit into award winning wines. Enjoy a barrel tasting, seminar, or guided tour. Several wineries are hosting fall festivals featuring homegrown foods, local music, and special tastings. Loudoun restaurants and wine shops are also getting in on the action, featuring wine specials and expanded offerings of Virginia wines. Here’s a sample of just some of the events being hosted by Loudoun wineries in October. Visit our events calendar for a full list of wine events.

The 10th Annual Norton Wine & Bluegrass Festival Chrysalis Vineyards October 2-3, 2010 Visit Chrysalis Vineyards in the midst of harvest and experience the hottest festival of the year. Enjoy the bluegrass pickings of Jackass Flats, Hickory Ridge, and A Good Natured Riot throughout the weekend. Feast on food for sale from local BBQ Catering King, as well as cheese, chocolates, and chutneys from Virginia's most highly regarded producers. Enjoy hay rides and vineyard tours as well as a special 9-wine tasting that includes all of our Norton wines with a commemorative souvenir glass. Factor in that you are at Chrysalis Vineyards, the world's largest grower of Norton, The Real American Grape!® and you truly have a celebration!

Paddle & Wine Tour and Summer Concert Series Tarara Winery October 10, 2010 What better way to enjoy fall than canoeing down the river past scenic countryside and ending at winery? Enjoy a guided canoe or kayak tour on a 4.5 to 7 mile stretch of the Potomac or Shenandoah River, rich in natural beauty and perfect for novice and intermediates. Disembark on the grounds of Tarara Winery where you will sample several premium wines and have the opportunity to tour the wine making cave. Tarara’s Sounds of Summer Concert Series boasts Saturday evenings full of music performed by legendary musicians, award-winning wine, and good food all enjoyed under the stars. Tucked in the woods on Tarara's 475 acres, the concert stage hangs suspended next to Shadow Lake and creates the perfect venue for summer blues, 80s, 90s, and contemporary pop hits. Tarara also hosts Music on the Deck on select Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons (see website for complete schedule.)

Cabernet Sauvignon Vine to Wine Tasting Sunset Hills Vineyard October 17, 2010 Ever wondered what happens to grapes between harvest and your glass? Well, wonder no more! Join the Vine to Wine Harvest Tasting series for a fun, educational and informal look at the ongoing 2010 harvest, and discover first-hand what goes into winemaking from start to finish. At each tasting we’ll highlight one specific grape varietal. You’ll taste the grapes freshly plucked from the vine, the freshly pressed juice, the wine actively fermenting, and the final product from either our wine library or straight from the barrel.