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Appetite: Lift a Glass at Virginia Wine Festival
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Appetite: Lift a Glass at Virginia Wine Festival

— Fall: The perfect time for apple-picking, leaf-peeping, and sipping wine along the Potomac on a crisp October weekend.

The 42nd annual Virginia Wine Festival sets up shop at Oronoco Bay Park on Saturday and Sunday, moving to a more coastal location after several years in Fairfax’s Bull Run Regional Park. Organizer Charlie Adler of TasteUSA says that though the foot traffic at Bull Run was impressive, the more DC-centric location may boost the festival’s numbers still.

“We did really well at Bull Run — we had almost 9,000 people over two days. But frankly it was a little bit far away, and that created some logistical issues,” he said.

With the festival’s new location in the heart of Old Town, Adler says there’s a renewed focus on public and pedestrian transportation, encouraging use of Alexandria’s bus and trolley system as well as bike trails. The festival will also sport a pickup and dropoff point for Uber and Lyft to cut down on street parking.

But while infrastructure is all fine and well, ticket-holders are coming for the wine. And it will be plentiful, Adler says. Featuring wineries from Leon’s Prince Michel to Floyd’s Chateau Morrisette, from Gordonsville’s Horton Vineyards to Delaplane’s Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery, even well-versed visitors can expect to get a taste of a new wine or two.

Though the weekend is dubbed as a wine festival, cideries and breweries will also be in attendance for the festivities. It’s just the natural progression of the festival scene, Adler says.

“People want diversity. They don’t want to just drink wine, they might want to try cider, maybe a gluten-free (beverage),” he said. “… We added beer last year — that was the first time we’d ever had beer at the festival. You have a couple, you have a group, and maybe some drink wine and some don’t.”

To that end, keep an eye out for the likes of Cobbler Mountain Cider and Winchester Cider Works, both of which will offer up some non-wine drinks for tasting.

And festival-goers can’t subsist on wine (or cider) alone. To that end, the Virginia Oyster Pavilion will be open for service, offering up oysters in all manner of ways for the weekend. Not a fan of the trusty bivalve mollusk? Feast instead on an array of options from an array of vendors, including The Big Cheese food truck, Manassas’ Grilled Reaper, and Old Town’s own Meggrolls. Tickets for the event are $35 per day in advance and $45 at the door. VIP tickets are sold out for Saturday but still available for Sunday at $75 in advance and $95 at the door. Visit www.virginiawinefest.com for more details.

Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at hope@kitchenrecessionista.com.