For any DC-area wine lover who hasn't been to Red White and Bleu in Falls Church, I highly recommend a visit. It's the type of neighborhood wine and cheese shop where you can really learn a lot about what you are buying, have a personalized shopping experience with their knowledgeable staff and walk away entirely satisfied every time.
They also have weekly wine tastings and jelly bean wine kits. Want to know what you're going to drink before you buy? shell out a couple of bucks for a little packet of jelly beans that replicate the flavors. Believe it or not, it really works.
I mention Red White and Bleu because drinking local is more than just supporting Virginia wineries. It's also shopping at local wine shops where the owners are also neighbors and really care about the customer experience and the wines they sell. Red White and Bleu is one of those shops, and every wine I have ever purchased from them has been well worth the trip.
Owl House Red is just the most recent example. A red blend that is on Red White and Bleu's $9.99 rack, it's a dry and complex wine that is a steal at the price and goes just as well with appetizers and junk food as it does with steak or lamb. As a blend of Rhone varietals and Bordeaux varietals, it is also one of those wines that a local shop is happy to carry but a grocery, chain or big box store might not - it just doesn't fit into their classifications and can't be produced in large enough quantities to meet the demand.
While drinking local and eating local is great - and I really do believe that Virginia wine is making huge gains - it also means supporting local merchants who really care about their community and have a passion for their products. They are also great places to try wines that may be a bit too off the beaten path for the big stores.