Before starting, I have to say the closest winery to me is Paradise Springs so I do visit this winery more than others, and I have fallen in love with it. I was first introduced to Paradise Springs at the Clifton Wine Fest a few years back. The wines were good, the location close, and the surrounding area beautiful. Some of the highlights as to why I love the winery:
- Delicious wines
- They are dog-friendly on property
- You can bring your own picnic (including tent if you want to go all-out)
- The location is beautiful and historic (check out their cabin on site!)
- I have taken the experience tour twice and learned so much new both times
- Looking for a little nature hike/run/horse trail? Check out Hemlock across the street
- The wine club is a great deal
To elaborate on these highlights:
The wines from Paradise Springs are good and there is a nice, changing variety. My personal favorites from the winery are their Norton and their Sommet Blanc. The Norton from Paradise Springs is dark, rich and earthy. It really brings me into my comfort zone. The Sommet Blanc from Paradise Springs is one of my favorite whites…ever. I usually lean towards Viognier, but their Sommet Blanc never disappoints me here. It is the perfect chilled wine for a summer’s day. The 2013 was refreshing and crisp, made from a blend of Vidal Blanc, Traminette, and Chardonnay. The 2014 (which was just released and in our wine club selection for March) does not have Chardonnay. It is a very fruit-forward, crisp and refreshing wine. Another group favorite each time is Nana’s Rose. Not your typical rose (less sweet than others) and tends to attract both the red and white drinkers.
The dog-friendly is a huge plus. As I have mentioned over and over, we have two dogs and we look for places we can take them on the weekends. This winery is close by and a great choice! They allow dogs on property, which is the primary reason we became wine club members.
The bring your own picnic is another great deal for us we take advantage of a lot…we love the opportunity to bring our own cheeses, sandwiches, andwhatever else. You can bring your picnic indoors to their tasting room and porch or outdoors to their many picnic benches on site. We’ve seen people even bring their own tents to set up a birthday party, bachelorette party, etc. Great times!
The winding roads and homes surrounding the winery are beautiful. The winery is a short drive from the historic town of Clifton, with great restaurants and antique shopping. The cabin on property at the winery dates pre-Civil War. It has been renovated by a renowned architect, Howard Richter, who received educational guidance from Frank Lloyd Wright. I recommend taking the experience tour at the winery where you’ll learn more about the cabin, additions, and history of the property. It’s beautiful inside and out!
In addition to touring the cabin and getting a little history lesson of the property, the experience tour is unique and varies depending on who your guide is. Some of the guides go into the history of the artwork in the house. One time, I had the opportunity to learn more about the corks used in the bottling process and how they can be recycled. Another time, we received a more in-depth lesson on the barrels used, particularly for their port wine, Swagger. The best take-away I had from a tour was the recommendation to read the book The Wild Vine by Todd Kliman. I bought it there on property, and I am so glad I did.
Hemlock Overlook Regional Park is a beautiful park just across the street from Paradise Springs. On a nice day, my boyfriend and I will take the dogs over and hike one of their many paths. The park is not only great for hikers, but also for those who want to take a ride with their horses on the park’s horse trails, featuring good directional signage. There is also an educational center on site. When I was an undergraduate at George Mason University, one of our classes took us to the property for team building exercises. They have a ropes course and other activities great for groups to schedule.
Finally, the wine club is a great deal at Paradise Springs. I cannot believe it took me so
long to purchase my membership! For only $20, club members receive discounts on bottles, free tastings, and wine club member exclusive event invites. I just got back from a wine club members pick-up this past weekend. These events feature member’s only designated times to enjoy the winery, have some snacks, and taste the new wines in the quarters’ wine club selection. The tasting includes more details on the wines themselves and process behind the production and bottling. For some of the wines, the club members are the first to be able to purchase the bottles (and for limited bottles, wine club members are the only ones allowed to purchase some of these). On the weekends, we’ll take our dogs and introduce friends to the winery and enjoy a free tasting for the member and three others. From there, we always walk away with more bottles for the home (and very happy friends). The only commitment is to purchasing the three bottles of selected wines each quarter… easy commitment for me!
The only side-note to the beautiful winery and experience are the restrooms. Be prepared, but there are only two stalls in the women’s room. On a beautiful day, there can be a line out the door. On that note, a beautiful day can also mean limited parking. (There is a grassy hill they try to park people on but some people block traffic/exit routes here and my little old hybrid sometimes has difficulties if it’s muddy) Outside of that, there is plenty of seating on property, a good amount of tasting space in the tasting room, the staff are wonderful and friendly, and the scenery is beautiful and great hiking trails.