If you’re looking for an amazing winery near Washington, D.C., The Winery at Bull Run should be at the top of your list. With its unique combination of Virginia wine and history, this incredible winery offers something for everyone who loves to explore and experience culture through their palates.
The Winery at Bull Run is just an hour from the nation’s capital in Centreville, Virginia, and is named after the Civil War battle fought nearby in 1861. Opening in 2012, this winery has been crafting some of the finest Virginia wines for over a decade, paired with unforgettable experiences.
They offer several tour options that cater to all types of guests, from history buffs wanting a comprehensive look at their past to oenophiles looking for an extensive tasting tour.
Visit Fairfax and The Winery at Bull Run hosted our visit. All opinions are my own.
The Winery at Bull Run continues to honor its historical roots while striving to craft some of Virginia’s finest wines made with Norton grapes grown onsite and by other local farmers in Virginia.
Prized among wine lovers and considered America’s true native grape, the Norton grape is used in many of the wines made at The Winery at Bull Run. Dr. Daniel Norton developed the Norton hybrid grape that grows well in the eastern and midwest states.
Variety Of Wines
Bull Run Winery has an impressive selection of wines made with both traditional and modern techniques. You can choose from sparkling whites like the 2019 Barrel Select Chardonnay or dry reds like the 2019 Antebellum or the Reconciliation 2020. Most of these unique blends are made with locally-grown grapes, ensuring that each sip will be full of flavor and character. My favorite was the 2021 Delaney. I loved the blue bottle.
Tasting Room And Patio
The tasting room at Bull Run Winery offers a cozy atmosphere indoors with plenty of outdoor seating. Group reservations are available. Reservations are optional when visiting if your group is 12 guests or less. Walk-ins are always welcome.
Inside, guests can relax by the fireplace and sample wines from Virginia’s Piedmont region. A full line of cocktails, beer, and cider is also available. There is often live music to enjoy while tasting. A giant mural is behind the tasting bar and other civil war relics are around the room.
The outdoor area is covered in ivy, creating a tranquil setting for wine tasters to enjoy their drinks without worrying about the summer or winter weather. All winery seating options are first-come, first-served for all areas.
Note: They do not permit pets or outside food in these areas. Food is available from the on-site food trucks.
Pro Tip: They do have private tastings. Reservations are required and you must have at least eight guests to reserve a private tasting.
There are two lawn areas outdoors for use when weather permits. One is for families, and the other area is for adults only. Both lawns overlook the vineyards and feature picnic tables and lots of room to roam around and enjoy nature.
You must be over 21 years old to enter the Adult Lawn section. Children must be supervised in the Family Lawn section. You can bring outside food into both the Adult Lawn & Family Lawn areas, but no outside beverages or coolers.
They offer several tour options that cater to all types of guests, from history buffs wanting a comprehensive look at their past to oenophiles looking for a delicious production and tasting tour.
The great thing is each of the tours includes four wine tastings. With each tour and tasting, you receive a complimentary engraved wine glass. Reservations are required and a fee is charged for each tour. Currently, tours are only available on Saturday and Sunday. Check their website for times.
When we visited, we did all three tours on the same day. I don’t recommend that because it was more wine-tasting than desired for one day. But I wanted to see everything, so drinking a little extra wine was the price I had to pay.
Past To Present: Historical Tour
The winery offers a historical tour that brings to life Virginia’s rich history of winemaking. Learn about how the area’s unique soil composition affects the flavor and quality of its wines as you walk the hallowed grounds and discuss Civil War battles. Learn about the history, the Hillwood Estate, the vineyards, and the happenings at the farm winery.
I enjoyed seeing the photo opportunities and historic grounds when we took this tour. Tasting the wine was enjoyable too.
Note: Most of this tour is outside on the grounds and includes considerable walking on sometimes uneven ground.
Witness To History: Museum Tour
Witness To History is a one-hour walking tour with a personal guide that takes you through their Civil War Museum to view over 200,000 artifacts. It was interesting to learn the stories of the local Civil War soldiers and the personal side of battles that took place on the grounds and in nearby areas.
I loved seeing so many items saved from the Civil War. They have a collection of over 60,000 shells that were dropped in the area when soldiers were forced to move quickly. They simply dropped the ammunition that would slow them down and moved on. Uniforms, guns, and cannonballs are a few other items you will find in the collection.
Note: There is minimal walking, and it is inside.
Grape To Glass: Production Tour
Get an exclusive glimpse into the entire process that goes into making a bottle of world-class wine. Take a one-hour guided Grape to Glass: Production Tour through their vineyards and learn about grape selection and harvesting through barrel aging and bottling. Throughout the tour, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample select wines.
I enjoyed learning about the crush pad and state-of-the-art production barn.
Note: This tour involves extensive walking both outdoors and indoors.
Entertainment And Events
There is never a dull moment at The Winery at Bull Run. Often when you visit, there will be live music for your enjoyment. When we visited in February, we enjoyed a local musician playing the guitar and singing popular songs in the middle of the afternoon.
In addition to tours and tastings, the Bull Run Winery hosts events throughout the year ranging from comedy shows to seasonal celebrations.
While we were there, they had a Cookie and Wine Pairing Event. Attendees could enjoy their special edition wine tasting paired with fan-favorite cookies.
Other upcoming events include a barrel tasting, St. Patty’s Day Comedy Show, Friday Flight Nights, and trivia nights. Check out their event calendar for additional information.
King Charles II of England granted the winery’s property as part of the Northern Neck Proprietary to Lord Fairfax in 1649. The property was divided up and parcels were sold. The area has been home to vineyards since 1799, although it wasn’t until 2012 that a new modern-day winery was opened on the same land.
The Winery at Bull Run sits next to over 5,000 acres of the historic Manassas National Battlefield Park, where the Battle of Bull Run occurred. The house that once stood on the Bull Run property was known as Hillwood and was used as a hospital during the civil war battles. War relics such as bullets with teeth marks and syringes were found at the site.
The Hillwood property changed hands multiple times through the years. It sat vacant for 18 years until the current owner, Jon Hickox, purchased 21 acres, including the Hillwood house. The purchase was the first step in establishing a family farm-oriented winery in honor of his ancestors and former property owners.
Shortly after the purchase, he removed the remaining walls of the rundown house, leaving the old foundation for visitors to see. Then, he began work on the winery.
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