Over the past few weeks I have come across a few articles or statements from people mentioning they have difficulty finding Virginia wine in Virginia stores, or think they can’t buy it anywhere other than onsite at a Virginia winery. I know for a fact this isn’t true. I often browse the Virginia wine sections at various wine and grocery stores. Personally, I enjoy buying Virginia wines from the wineries themselves. I enjoy the experience of escaping the DC beltway craziness on a weekend afternoon. A mere one hour drive out to the Virginia countryside can make you feel worlds away, and is one of my favorite ways to unwind. But, I can certainly understand wanting to find your favorite bottle of Virginia wine closer to home.
So, I decided to incorporate a few extra stops into my routine of errand running this past week. In total, I hit six stores over six days across Northern Virginia in search of Virginia wine. Four were chains, and two were smaller independent retail outlets.
The Harris Teeter on S. Campell Ave. in Arlington is my local neighborhood supermarket, so this was probably the most convenient stop for me. I’m in here at least three times a week, and this particular store has carried Virginia wine for quite some time. Last week, nine Virginia wineries were represented on the shelves. Notables included Breaux, Prince Michel, Barboursville, and Horton Vineyards.
|Harris Teeter S. Campbell Ave. Virginia Wine Selection|
The Whole Foods in Clarendon is another relatively routine stop for me. As is with the Harris Teeter, I’ve noticed Virginia wines in the wine section in this store for a while as well. When I swung by last week, they seemed to be running low, but I counted nine separate wineries, most of which had multiple varieties for sale. Noteworthy wines included White Hall, Cooper Vineyards, Pearmund, and Fabbioli.
|Whole Foods Clarendon Virginia Wine Selection|
Wegmans in Fairfax was no doubt the largest grocery store I shopped at this past week, and their downstairs wine room also had the largest selection of wines for sale. I had never looked for Virginia wine here before, so was particularly curious as to what I would find. I was pleasantly surprised – roughly 21 different Virginia wineries were here, most with multiple varieties for sale. Some that were noteworthy included Chrysalis, Breaux, Barboursville, Horton, Prince Michel, Ingleside, and Willowcroft.
|Wegmans Fairfax Virginia Wine Selection|
I was purchasing several bottles of wine as a thank you gift this week, and picked these up from Total Wine in Alexandria. It was here that I found the absolute largest selection of Virginia wines – I counted 47 different wineries. So folks – if you live near a Total Wine – definitely check out one of these stores if you’re hoping for a nice selection.
|Total Wine Alexandria Virginia Wine Selection|
While having lunch at Cheesetique in Shirlington on Friday, I quickly browsed through their small but selective wines for sale. I was surprised to see two Virginia wines amongst their collection – a 2010 Lovingston Petit Manseng and a 2010 Jefferson Vineyards Viognier.
|Cheesetique Shirlington Virginia Wine Selection|
My final stop was to Arrowine in North Arlington. This artisanal wine and cheese shop has been a popular neighborhood store for years. I counted 16 Virginia wineries represented on the shelves. These included Barboursville Octagon (one of the most famous Virginia wines), Chrysalis, Linden, Pearmund, Rappahannock Cellars, and Glen Manor (although not the recently crowned gold medalist 2009 Hodder Hill from last weeks Virginia Governor's Cup competition).
|Arrowine North Arlington Virginia Wine Selection|
Although I had seen Virginia wines on the shelves many times, it was fun to take a closer look at the names, number of wineries, and varieties. As for the prices of the wines, they looked to me to be pretty close to what I see at wineries themselves.