A little bonding time is in order. Ladies, gather your girls. Guys, it’s time to hit the road. Culpeper is a fantastic destination for weekend jaunts with interesting places to stay, fantastic food, and plenty of liquid love to go around. Whether it’s a bachelor party, girls’ getaway, or even a babymoon, these are excellent opportunities for quality time and memory-making.
Culpeper’s first distillery has been featured on the History Channel’s hit series Moonshiners. Visit Belmont Farm where master distiller Chuck Miller carries forth the tradition of crafting his “Kopper Kettle” line of spirits using a solid copper pot still. The process is slow which ensures great care is taken to provide the best beverages for sipping. Tours are available, and watch for special events.
Old House Distillery is a new offering from Old House Vineyards. The tasting room is open on a limited schedule, but those who time it right will be treated to an impressive collection of World War II memorabilia and an incredible ceiling mural to examine and enjoy. Current bottling includes Vodka crafted from their vineyard grape pomace, four varieties of Rum distilled from molasses, and a 100% Blue Weber Agave-distilled spirit … Virginia’s version of Mexico’s Tequila! Ryan Kearney describes it as “a fun spirit, 86 proof but pretty delicate, full of Agave flavor with a light oaky finish.”
Culpeper Area Craft Breweries
Beer Hound Brewery is a nanobrewery located in downtown Culpeper near the train depot, making it an easy destination when you’re exploring the shops and restaurants. Kenny Thacker’s 10 on-tap brews are named after famous hounds of film renown, like the 6.1% Old Yella, an American Pale Wheat Ale and easy-to-drink, refreshing beer. Enjoy it on the patio with The Mongrel, a meat-loaded artisan pizza with fresh mozzarella. And yes, your pup is welcome at Beer Hound. Capture a group photo at the LOVEwork across from the Depot before heading to your next destination.
Far Gohn Brewing is also located downtown and pays homage to immigrant beer and small taverns. Duck in to enjoy a different cask every weekend. The brewery specializes in German ales while also circulating in some Belgian, British, and American styles. Far Gohn does not have a restaurant component, but you are welcome to bring food with you.
Old Trade Brewing opened in June 2017 in Brandy Station, nicely situated near outdoor adventure and easily accessible from Culpeper. The family-friendly destination serves a niche of Belgian beers while keeping kids entertained with their own play areas. Couples and singles will also find intimate spaces to unwind and enjoy a flight as they wish.
A drive outside of downtown Culpeper and into Sperryville yields beautiful views and Pen Druid Brewing, a very unique Virginia craft brewery that focuses on the art of fermentation: wild, barrel, wood-fired, and spontaneous. The outcome? Craft beer magic. Nearby Copper Fox Distillery contributes to the blends with malted barley making the regional flavor even more appealing.
Old House Vineyards has opened Old House Brewing. Situated on the footprint of the farm's old barn, the brewery features large double-story windows exposing the Shenandoah National Park ridge line and the freshly planted hops garden. The flavors of craft beer are the only detractor of the beauty. Based on Kearney family recipes, the brews are a nod to their Irish, Scottish, and English roots. Taste and soak in this homage to a traditional Irish pub, and then complete the trifecta when you also sample their spirits and wine. Old House is a taster's all-in-one destination.
Culpeper Area Wineries
Old House Vineyards is the wine jewel of Culpeper. Acres of grapes roll toward a beautiful lake with seating and an island. Weddings happen here, and once you visit, you’ll understand why. The 1800s farmhouse is the namesake of the property. Enjoy a tasting to find your favorite bottle and then head out back and settle in under the shade trees. Wood fired pizza is available select days and live entertainment sets the atmosphere occasionally, too.
Five minutes from downtown Culpeper is Mountain Run Winery, a brand new, Veteran-owned farm winery. Set to open in summer 2016, the owners have fashioned a 1960s corn crib into a tasting room. It’s the perfect setting for a winemaker who views the winemaking process as an agricultural labor of love first and foremost.
The first thing you notice when you pass by Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery, just 10 minutes from Culpeper, are the giant wine glass windmills. “What was that?!” you ask yourself, and then you turn around. Prince Michel is one of Virginia’s oldest and largest wineries, offering plenty to do, see, and taste. You will enjoy the atmosphere as well as the acclaimed wines.
DuCard Vineyards welcomes individuals and groups (with notice) to enjoy their tasting room and a flight. Small bites are available for snacking if you find a bottle you’d like to enjoy on site, or you’re welcome to bring a picnic. Non-tasters and designated drivers are offered complimentary drinks and water. Be sure to look for the LOVEwork to add to your collection.
In Washington, Gadino Cellars focuses on small-batch creations of 1,400 to 2,300 cases per year, which means your best for bet tasting any of their wines is to head straight to the tasting room. Their patio affords a fantastic view of the rolling countryside and it’s a beautiful place to enjoy a bottle of their wine.
A top award winner year after year is Gray Ghost Vineyards in Amissville. Their sprawling 20 acres are photogenic for those who like to walk among the grapes. You’ll find the gazebos and gardens to be intimate spaces for a quiet moment with someone special.
Also in Amissville is Magnolia Winery, a small winery focused primarily on the Bordeaux varietal and offering wine and cheese pairings. Groups of eight or more require advance reservations. You’ll find the picnic tables to be a great place to relax on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when a musician may provide live music.
What do you get when a chemist takes up winemaking? A range of 19 wines categorized into three flights based on palate preferences. If that’s something you must try, Narmada Winery in Amissville is the place to go. Small plates and Indian fare are also offered paired with select wines. It’s a unique experience if you’re looking for more than a flight.
Bealton’s Morais Vineyards & Winery offers a LOVEwork photo opportunity as well as great wine for the tasting. The family business has grown from generations of Portuguese winemakers, and both the style and architecture give a gracious nod to the heritage. Their wines are repeat award-winners and you won’t go wrong spending a full afternoon on their stunning grounds.
“Unique, genuine, and honest” are fair descriptors of Rogers Ford Farm Winery’s product. With only 1,000 cases produced per year, careful attention is given to crafting a special line of wines. Their Sumerduck farmhouse serves as the tasting room, and visitors are encouraged to take a load off and rest from the busyness of the world.
Sperryville’s Sharp Rock Vineyards sits at the foot of Old Rag Mountain, a beautiful place to sip one of their 12 small batch, award-winning wines. Sample the Old Rag Red, a three Bordeaux and Nebbiolo blend that pairs perfectly with their signature venison sausage.
Regardless of the path you choose for your excursion, designate a driver and enjoy our liquid love responsibly.