If you are looking for an amazing winery near Washington, DC, The Winery at Bull Run should be at the top of your list. With its unique combination of Virginia wine and history, this incredible winery offers something for everyone who loves to discover and experience culture through their taste buds.
Located just an hour from the country’s capital in Centreville, Virginia, the Bull Run Winery is named for the Civil War battle that took place nearby in 1861. Opened in 2012, this winery has been making some of the finest Virginia wines for over a decade, paired with unforgettable experiences.
They offer different tour options for all types of guests, from history buffs wanting an in-depth look at their past to wine lovers looking for an in-depth tasting tour.
Visit Fairfax and The Winery at Bull Run hosted our visit. All opinions are my own.
The Bull Run winery continues to honor its historical roots and strives to produce some of Virginia’s finest wines, made from Norton grapes grown on site and by other local Virginia farmers.
Treasured by wine lovers, the Norton grape is considered America’s true native grape. It is used in many of the wines made at The Winery at Bull Run. dr Daniel Norton developed the Norton hybrid grape, which grows well in the eastern and midwestern states.
variety of wines
Bull Run Winery offers an impressive range of wines made using both traditional and modern techniques. You can choose between sparkling whites like the 2019 Barrel Select Chardonnay or dry reds like the 2019 Antebellum or the 2020 Reconciliation. Most of these unique blends are made from locally grown grapes to ensure every sip is packed with flavor and character. My favorite was the Delaney 2021. I loved the blue bottle.
Tasting room and terrace
The Bull Run Winery’s tasting room offers a cozy indoor atmosphere with ample outdoor seating. Group reservations are possible. Reservations are optional when visiting if your party is 12 guests or fewer. Newcomers are always welcome.
Inside, guests can relax by the fireplace and sample wines from Virginia’s Piedmont region. A full selection of cocktails, beer and cider is also available. There is often live music to enjoy during the tasting. A huge mural sits behind the tasting bar, and other Civil War relics are scattered around the room.
The outdoor area is covered in ivy, creating a tranquil environment for wine tasters to enjoy their drinks without worrying about the summer or winter weather. All seating options in the winery apply to all areas subject to availability.
Note: They do not allow pets or outside food in these areas. Food is available from the on-site food trucks.
Pro Tip: They have private tastings. Reservations are required and you must have a minimum of eight guests to reserve a private tasting.
There are two outdoor lawns that can be used when the weather is nice. One is for families and the other is for adults only. Both lawns overlook the vineyards and have picnic tables and plenty of space to walk around and enjoy the great outdoors.
You must be over 21 years of age to access the adult lawn area. Children must be supervised in the Family Lawn area. You may bring outside food into the Adult Lawn and Family Lawn areas, but not outside beverages or coolers.
They offer different tour options for all types of guests, from history buffs wanting a deep dive into their past to oenophiles looking for a delicious production and tasting tour.
The great thing is that each of the tours includes four wine tastings. Receive a complimentary engraved wine glass with every tour and tasting. Reservations are required and there is a fee for each tour. Currently tours are only available on Saturday and Sunday. Check their website for times.
On our visit we did all three tours on the same day. I don’t recommend this because it was more wine tasting than requested for a day. But I wanted to see it all, so a little more wine was the price I had to pay.
Past to Present: Historical Tour
The winery offers a historical tour that brings to life Virginia’s rich winemaking history. Learn how the region’s unique soil composition affects the flavor and quality of its wines as you walk past sacred sites and discuss Civil War battles. Learn about the history, the Hillwood Estate, the vineyards and what happened at the farm’s winery.
I enjoyed seeing the photo opportunities and historical grounds while we did this tour. The wine tasting was enjoyable too.
Note: Most of this tour takes place outside on the premises and involves considerable walking on sometimes uneven ground.
Witness to history: guided tour of the museum
Witness To History is a 1-hour walking tour with a personal guide who takes you through the Civil War Museum to see over 200,000 artifacts. It was interesting to learn the stories of the local Civil War soldiers and the personal side of the fighting that took place on the site and in the surrounding areas.
I loved seeing so many items salvaged from the civil war. They have a collection of over 60,000 shells that were dropped in the area when soldiers were forced to move quickly. They just dropped the ammo that would slow them down and moved on. Uniforms, guns, and cannonballs are some other items that you will find in the collection.
Note: There is walking distance and it is indoors.
Grape to Glass: Production Tour
Get an exclusive look at the entire process that leads to the creation of a bottle of world-class wine. Take a 1-hour guided Grape to Glass: Production Tour of their vineyards, learning about everything from grape selection and harvesting to cask aging and bottling. During the tour you will have ample opportunity to taste selected wines.
I enjoyed learning about the Crush Pad and the state of the art production stable.
Note: This tour includes extensive hikes both outdoors and indoors.
entertainment and events
There’s never a dull moment at The Winery at Bull Run. There is often live music for your enjoyment during your visit. On our visit in February we enjoyed a local musician playing guitar and singing popular songs in the middle of the afternoon.
In addition to tours and tastings, Bull Run Winery hosts events throughout the year ranging from comedy shows to seasonal celebrations.
While we were there they had a cookie and wine pairing event. Attendees were able to enjoy their special edition wine tasting along with fan-favorite cookies.
Other upcoming events include a cask tasting, the St. Patty’s Day Comedy Show, Friday Flight Nights and quiz nights. You can find more information in the events calendar.
King Charles II of England granted Lord Fairfax ownership of the winery as part of the Northern Neck Proprietary in 1649. The property was divided and lots sold. The area has been home to vineyards since 1799, although it was not until 2012 that a new modern winery opened on the same land.
The Winery at Bull Run is adjacent to over 5,000 acres of historic Manassas National Battlefield Park where the Battle of Bull Run took place. The house that once stood on the Bull Run property was known as Hillwood and was used as a hospital during Civil War fighting. War relics such as bullets with tooth marks and syringes were found at the site.
The Hillwood estate has changed hands several times over the years. It sat vacant for 18 years until the current owner, Jon Hickox, bought 21 acres including the Hillwood home. The purchase was the first step in establishing a family-run winery in honor of its ancestors and former landowners.
Shortly after the purchase, he removed the remaining walls of the dilapidated house, leaving the old foundations visible to visitors. Then he started working at the winery.
For more information on visiting Virginia, see these articles: