Blogger’s Wine Tour Part 1

Reston Limousine went off the beaten path last weekend to take six bloggers on a special tour of the Loudoun Wine Trail’s Harmony Cluster.

We traveled along Loudoun’s country backroads to enjoy tastings at four destinations, including the original and newest wineries in DC’s Wine Country: Casanel Vineyards, Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery, Zephaniah Farm Vineyard and Willowcroft Farm Vineyard.

Joining us on the tour were:

Tammi Marcoullier, a media and content strategy consultant in Loudoun who launched the popular blog, Living in LoCo, as an editor and consultant to WashingtonPost.com. Tammi currently posts regularly on her blog InsideOut, Facebook and Twitter.

Audrey McGill, a freelance designer of Web sites and blogs who writes about family life and travels in northern Virginia and beyond on her blog The McGill Family, Facebook and Twitter

Dezel Quillen, author of a Loudoun Magazine three-part series on the Loudoun Wine Trail, who has visited dozens of wineries and vineyards in the region. Besides his blog, My Vine Spot, Dezel also is a regular contributor to the official Virginia Wine Lover newsletter.

Joe Roberts, a certified wine specialist from the greater Philadelphia area and author of the book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: The 1WineDude Tasting Guide. Joe writes mini-reviews on Twitter in addition to his blog, 1 Wine Dude.

Kathy and Terry Sullivan of Maryland, who travel around the country visiting wineries and writing about them for Wine Trail Traveler, their virtual visitor center. Terry also is a regular contributor to Examiner.com as the Baltimore Wine Trail Examiner and on Twitter.

Our first stop was Casanel Vineyards, where the Dave Pepper band was setting up for a performance on the outdoor patio. Inside, Kathleen DeSouza, her daughter Anna, and Anna’s husband Elliotte played host behind the bar, offering tastings of their 2007 Chegada and 2008 Batucada wines.

Family patriarch Nelson DeSouza, meanwhile, proudly showed off his handiwork in the tasting facility, from the renovations to the 1800s stone barn to the bar and tables he made himself. The native of Brazil, who had retired from the construction business, regaled our group with tales of his life, explaining the history and meaning behind the names of his vintages.

It was hard to tear ourselves away, but we had another winery to visit: Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery, Loudoun’s newest winery. Owners Dean and Nancy Vanhuss had lovingly restored a historic stable and barn that was once home to the horses and dogs of the Loudoun Hunt Club, converting it to a tasting room on the main floor and a wonderful space for events upstairs.

Upon entering the tasting room, we recognized a young couple at the bar: Brett and Julie, who recently launched a new wine blog, How Merlot Can You Go. Introductions to the Marine Corps lieutenant and molecular geneticist were made all ’round, and our group set about sampling from Dry Mill’s tasting menu, whose 2007 Cabernet Franc was a top pick of the day for some of the bloggers.

A light drizzle sprang up as we concluded our Dry Mill visit, but our intrepid driver James handily navigated the road leading to our next destination, Zephaniah Farm Vineyard.

Coming Thursday: Part 2 of the Reston Limousine Blogger’s Wine Tour

Reston Limousine offers Public Wine Tours every weekend; to view a schedule of tours, please visit www.restonlimo.com.

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