It’s a common scene at some wineries: A party bus or stretch limo pulls up, and the group overwhelms the tasting bar. More and more, wineries are saying no thanks. It’s not just large groups—plenty of wineries now have rules for groups as small as six. What’s a bachelorette party to do? These vineyards welcome groups large and small.
Barrel Oak is a well-known magnet for groups, with acres of land for parking and picnics. The winery stays open until 9 on Fridays and Saturdays from May to November, food vendors are on-site, and multiple tasting bars keep the wine flowing. Plus—terrific sunset views. Tastings $7 and up; reservations required for eight or more (540-364-6402).
Running Hare in Southern Maryland is the rare winery that welcomes big groups—up to 20—with no reservation. Taste in the Tuscan-style winery, then walk to the craft-beer garden for samples from Calvert Brewing Company. Live music every week-end. Tastings $5 for wine, $10 for wine and beer (beer available weekends only).
At Three Fox, groups of eight or more are set up with a tasting of the mostly Italian-style varietals. Afterward, adjourn to a space on the patio or head to the meadow, where a “winemobile” can be summoned for refills. A reservation (540-364-6073) and deposit are required for eight or more. (Group tastings start at $15 per person).
Tarara Winery offers tastings for groups of 10 to 100 at its lakeside pavilion. A sampling of six wines costs $10 a person. Later, guests are welcome to hang out at other picnic tables on the property. Reservations required; call 703-771-7100 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Washingtonian.