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Northern Virginia's wine country sits barely an hour outside the nation's capital, yet somehow feels like exploring a secret world. Winding back roads open into bucolic scenes that seem ripped from an old landscape painting. Between the Skyline Drive and Appalachian Trail, and perfectly preserved sites like George Washington's Mount Vernon, Waterford Village and Harper's Ferry National Historical Park, it's easy to forget what year it is. Yet with the National Air and Space Museum, Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts, and of course, Washington, D.C., also nearby, it's just as easy to immerse yourself in some distinctly modern pleasures as well.

And dotted throughout this dynamic landscape are some of Virginia's most respected wineries. The rolling hills, with rich soils from eons of granite and sandstone erosion, gives good air and drainage for wine grapes. Add the moderate winters and a generous growing season and the result is very productive ground for wines that reflect Virginia's position as the midpoint between the Old World and the new.

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