Annual Wine Festival Planned in May

Annual Wine Festival Planned in May

Mount Vernon's Wine Festival and Sunset Tour celebrates the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the Mansion and wine cellar, an appearance by General Washington himself, and live jazz on the east lawn of George Washington's Mount Vernon home overlooking the scenic Potomac River.

Visitors can bring a blanket and relax on the lawn as they sample wines from 16 Virginia wineries May 16-18. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at Mount Vernon's Main Gate or through TicketMaster beginning April 1.

Historic interpreters and colonial-attired 18th-century friends of the Washington's will conduct special tours of the Mansion throughout the evening. The interpreters will discuss Washington's attempts at creating a vineyard and highlight various wine-related items inside the Mansion, such as Washington's spirits' case, as well as the basement's brick vaults, where Washington stored his wine - an area of the Mansion not open to the public at any other time of the year.

Throughout each evening, guests can sample wines Virginia wineries: Barboursville Vineyards, Breaux Vineyards, Chateau Morrisette, Gabriele Rausse Winery, Horton Cellars Winery, Linden Vineyards, Oasis Winery, Prince Michel Vineyards, Rappahannock Cellars, Rockbridge Vineyard, Inc., Stone Mountain Vineyards, Tarara Vineyard & Winery, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Villa Appalaccia Winery, Williamsburg Winery, Ltd., and Willowcroft Farm Vineyards.

TO ACCOMPANY the wine tasting, fruit and cheese boxes are available by advance purchase ($18 each; serves 2). A variety of hot and cold food and desserts including baguettes, gourmet sandwiches, and specialty sweets will be available on site from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant and Firehook Bakery concessions. Outside food and beverages are not allowed.

Situated on the piazza lawn overlooking the Potomac River, a very limited number of private tables are available. Tables seat 12 guests and include admission, six fruit & cheese boxes, three bottles of Mount Vernon wine, and VIP table service. Tables are $780 and may be purchased by calling the Mount Vernon Voice Mail Reservation Line at 703-799-8659.

CRUISE ROUND-TRIP to Mount Vernon's Wine Festival from Washington, D.C., aboard the Spirit of Washington. Available Sunday, May 18, only, the package includes hors d'oeuvres and jazz selections while cruising to Mount Vernon. The return trip features heavy hors d'oeuvres stations throughout the vessel, champagne, the Decadent Dessert Bar, a live floor show and a DJ for dancing. Fare includes Wine Festival admission and a special $10 voucher good at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concessions. Depart Pier 4 in Washington, D.C., at 4:30 p.m. and return at 10:30 p.m. Cost is $130 per person. For reservations, call Spirit Cruises at 202-554-8000.

All proceeds benefit the ongoing preservation and restoration of Mount Vernon and its educational programs.