The locally-owned Fabbioli Cellars breaks the mold with a unique sip-and-bite wine tasting experience.

It was a rainy Saturday in May, and our plans to go hiking became less appealing as the rain fell. We were driving up Route 15 through pastoral Loudoun County when we saw signs for the Fabbioli winery. On a whim, we decided to stop. Despite our collective inexperience at wineries, my two traveling companions and I decided to experience something new. The staff at Fabbioli made sure that we were not disappointed. The Fabbioli vineyard is a family-owned operation that began in 2001. The original tasting room was located in the basement of the family's home on the property; yet, as Fabbioli developed a reputation among local wine connoisseurs, they outgrew that small tasting room. Their website includes the following mission statement:
From planting to pruning, crushing to bottling, and delivering to pouring, our team is the key to the success of our rapidly growing business. Bound by a common passion for fine wines, earth-friendly farming, and lasting friendships, we revel in the challenges that each day brings. Confident that our efforts will not only bring us closer together, but will positively impact the experiences of our customers and our community while showcasing the best in Loudoun's rural economy."

"We do things differently at Fabbioli."

To get to the winery, you must drive down a narrow gravel road past a number of horse farms. Beside the large parking lot is a vineyard where Fabbioli's grows some grapes for their wines. The new tasting room, which opened in 2016, is in a unique rounded building; the building actually has 20 sides, meaning it is an icosagon (a polygon with 20 sides). [caption id="attachment_1703" align="aligncenter" width="805"]Fabbiolli This building houses tasting rooms, a barrel cellar, and wine sales.[/caption] The entire aesthetic of the tasting room and the surrounding grounds is organic and lush; even on a dreary day, the winery exuded a warmth and comfort that was welcoming after the drive up from Fairfax. It looked quite crowded inside, but at the top of the steps, an employee opened the door for us. He welcomed us in, making sure we felt comfortable despite the crowd standing around the counter where the cash register is. When asked if we had been there before, we told him we had never really been to a vineyard or winery before. With some excitement he told us that Fabbioli does things differently than other wineries.

Seven wines and gourmet bites for $15

The employee told us about their unique tasting experience: for $15 you get to try seven different wines from their winery. Five of those wines come with amuse-bouches, or single bites of food. We opted in to the experience and waited a few minutes in the main room for our tasting to begin. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="510"]Fabbiolli The eye-catching sculpture featured at the center of the rotunda tasting room[/caption] The tasting took place at a long, natural wooden table top. The wine-educator (as Fabbioli calls them) was engaging and witty as he poured our samples and engaged us in conversation about the history of the winery. The wines sampled included a delightful raspberry cider, a white blend of Vidal Blanc and Viogner, and a Fratelli-Cabernet Sauvignon. Many of the wines have humorous names that add a personal touch to the experience, including the "Ladies Man" raspberry cider and the "Something White" blend. The small bites added a lot to the experience. For uneducated wine tasters, the food provided an introduction to tasting notes and wine pairings. The bites included a grilled asparagus with a spiced tomato sauce, a lemon tabasco ricotta and ginger dusted blueberry, and a dark chocolate truffle for dessert. The Fabbioli family, in addition to grapes, also grew some of the food provided for the sip-and-bite experience. [caption id="attachment_1705" align="aligncenter" width="870"]Fabbioli The barrel room in the basement of the rotunda[/caption] Overall, the experience was memorable and an excellent introduction to winery visits. There are dozens of wineries in this historic part of Virginia, but Fabbioli is undoubtedly one of a kind. What is your favorite Virginia winery? Let us know in the comments below!

If you love wineries, here are a few more you can try!