Take a bow, BOW (Barrel Oak Winery)!

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bowThis is the first of an occasional series about wineries in Northern Virginia.

Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, owned by Brian and Sharon Roeder, deservedly gets rave reviews from almost everyone. But if you’re not fond of dogs, Barrel Oak (BOW) is not the place for you. The most dog-friendly of all the NoVa wineries, BOW has their own four resident winery dogs, and welcomes friendly dogs of all sizes both inside and out. They often host fundraisers and adoption events for local dog rescues, and breed and dog-related Meetup groups are welcome.

BOW is, as Brian Roeder says, about community. Their focus is on people exploring Virginia wines, and sharing that experience with friends and family. BOW’s core demographic is people 30-45, including parents with young children, but their patrons range from 8 months to 80 years old. On any given day, you’ll see a wide variety of happy customers enjoying the wine and the atmosphere of this friendly, inviting establishment.

Unlike many other local wineries, BOW encourages patrons to bring in their own food, although they often host food vendors on the weekend. This is a big plus for vegans, who may not find much to eat in a winery with crackers, cheese and sausage as the food options. Vegans will also appreciate that Sharon Roeder and Rick Tagg, the winemakers, use bentonite as the fining agent for the wines. A strict vegan may want to double-check a particular wine, but it’s nice to know that there is a NoVa winemaker who is sensitive to your dietary concerns.

Opened in May 2008, BOW grows their own grapes, and makes the wine on-premises, adding grapes from small family vineyards in Virginia as needed. Sharon and Rick have won more than 100 local and international awards for their wines, and are justifiably proud of their achievement in just five years. You’re welcome to wander through the vineyards, and the production area is open for visiting, as well. Guided tours are also available. There are tasting areas set up both inside and outside (weather permitting), so there is rarely a wait to taste the current offerings. For the summer, there is also sangria, both red and white, available to wet your whistle and keep you cool.

If you don’t have time for a visit to the winery, you can also taste and buy BOW’s wines at their shop next to the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg. If you fancy an adult-only, dog-free wine experience, the Roeders also opened Oak Hill Estates next door to BOW. At Oak Hill, the Roeders offer the John Marshall Tasting Experience, pairing rare wines with unique food items designed to complement the wine. All three establishments are able to host events.

For family or friends who want to spend a day in the countryside, enjoying wine, dogs and friendly people, Barrel Oak Winery is a great choice of venue!

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