Many people move to the nation’s capital for dynamic careers, bustling communities and the attraction of cultural activities, shopping, and great restaurants. Wine lovers also seek out the many tours that offer a chance to visit a winery, sample wines, and learn about their history and production process.
Those who live and work in a city as cosmopolitan and rich in history as Washington, D.C., will find a broad selection of wine tasting tours to consider, from historical walking tours, via pedicab, or in luxury air-conditioned buses or chauffeur-driven limousines for private groups. This guide will walk you through some premium wine tours and tastings to experience in the D.C. area designed to suit various budgets and interests.
Some Practical Wine Tasting Advice
Wine tasting is about engaging your senses of sight, smell, and taste to find wines that suit your palate. There are a few rules to follow, however:
- Etiquette suggests that you wear comfortable and respectful clothing for tours and visits to wineries.
- Comfort is paramount, as you may have lengthy rides.
- Wine-tasting etiquette permits you to spit out samples (even if you enjoy them) to monitor your consumption, and wineries will have tasting buckets for this purpose.
- Remember to always drink responsibly.
The tours listed below originate from some of D.C.’s most exciting and historically significant neighborhoods, including Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Woodley Park. They are perfect for a day of sipping and exploration.
Virginia Winery Day Tour – Spirited Tours
This full-day tour is designed for a maximum of 14 travelers and is run by Spirited Tours, which promises to weave a historical narrative into your visit to two different wineries. The tour includes light snacks, bottled water, and one alcoholic beverage. Lunch is also available for purchase during stops.
The tour duration is around six hours, and the pickup and drop-off points include:
- Georgetown – Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
- Adams Morgan/Woodley Park – Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW
- Dupont Circle – The Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Ave. NW
- Convention Center – Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW
- Downtown – W Hotel, 515 15th St. NW
- The Wharf – Hyatt House Hotel, 725 Wharf St. SW
You can join this tour as part of a larger public group or ask the tour operator to customize it for your group.
‘New York Times Journeys’ Walking Tour With Beer, Cheese and Wine Tasting
This curated walking tour is hosted by Washington Urban Adventures, and it’s based upon the popular New York Times Journeys column. This four-hour walking tour departs at noon from the Cannon Office Building at 99 Independence Ave. SE and returns to the same location upon completion.
Your tour guide will give you a brief history of the Capitol Hill buildings, including describing prominent historical political figures in Washington, D.C., both past and present. You may want to check out the New York Times article “36 Hours in Washington, D.C.,” which describes all the key landmarks you will visit on the tour, including D.C.’s first winery and the Library of Congress.
You will enjoy a glass of wine in bars allegedly haunted by local politicians while you sample some of the best food the city has to offer. The tour includes your souvenir bus fare, a Library of Congress library card, beer tasting, wine tasting (five glasses), cheese tasting, and pizza.
Historical Winery Tour and Tasting by USA Guided Tours
The Historical Winery Tour operated by USA Guided Tours takes around four hours. The tour includes bottled water, bus travel, and admission to Bull Run Regional Park and The Winery at Bull Run. It departs from Memorial Plaza (701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) and drops you off at the same location.
Wine Tours for Private Groups
Work groups or friends seeking private wine tastings that only include members of your group might consider the following choices:
- Tour operator DMV Tour offers a private wine tour to Loudoun County wineries, which are located only 25 miles outside of D.C. The tours take up to 14 people and are fully customizable, including the choice of wineries you get to visit. The trip to Loudoun County takes around one hour, and your driver will brief you about the region’s history.
- Another way to explore Loudoun County wineries is in a chauffeured SUV private tour by Black Hawk Sedans , available for groups up to six. This tour takes up to 10 hours and is offered in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Your group will travel to three local wineries of your choice from a selection of six. Your tour ticket includes snacks and drinks, but wine tastings will cost extra.
- Groups of six or fewer might consider the NOVA Private Custom Wine Tours and Tasting, a luxury limousine tour hosted by DCA Car.com. The 6-hour tour allows you to nominate your choice of winery from a list that may include:
The dress code for all these tours is smart casual. All offer free pickups and drop-offs from any location within a 20-mile radius of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., BYOB Tour by Pedicab
Wine lovers seeking a more budget-friendly option should consider a Tour by Pedicab, which runs for an hour and a half and is limited to groups of nine people. This tour departs from the Hotel Harrington (436 11th St NW), and your first stop is Central Liquors in the Penn Quarter district of D.C. You can sample red and white wines from Argentina or Spain or try a liquor from their list.
This tour will transport you to historical landmarks around D.C., starting with the Federal Triangle, Chinatown, and the Friendship Arch. You will pass by the Old Mary Surratt House (where conspirators plotted to kill Abe Lincoln) and other landmarks such as the Ford Theater, the International Spy Museum, Madame Tussauds, and the National Portrait Gallery. This tour ends at the Metro Station of your choice.
Wine tasting tours are a great team-bonding activity for groups of friends or work colleagues, and many of the tours listed above will introduce you to a fine selection of wines while teaching you a bit about the District’s political history.
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