Whether you like wine, love wine or are flat out crazy about it, Spring Wine Fling is the best time to try new and exotic varietals. Hosted by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, this weeklong event for wine lovers will take place at restaurants around the DC area from March 26 to April 1. Enjoy three pours of wine for only $15 or five pours of wine for $25 at participating locations. Check out our list of the best places to uncork, unwind and enjoy.
Featuring wines from California to Oregon, general manager Rob Weeks says American Prime is excited to see what comes of their first experience with Spring Wine Fling.
“It gives us an opportunity to showcase our wine list which has a good variety of varietals and regions, but also has tremendous value attached to it as well,” says Weeks.
In addition to its wine selection, American Prime is a great place to find delicious meats, including pancetta, prosciutto and 28-day dry-aged New York Strips, which all hang in the in-house charcuterie.
1420 Spring Hill Rd. Mclean, VA; www.americanprimeco.com
Chef Bart Vandaele says, “everything with B is better,” from bacon and burgundy to Belgian waffles and bourbon, and now B Too – his latest venture into Belgian cuisine. With their expansive wine list of 335 bottles and 22 wines by the glass, B Too is a must-visit locale during this year’s Spring Wine Fling. General manager Rinata Gafarova says she’s most excited for guests who might not be wine lovers to experience their wine selection.
“The Wine Fling is a beautiful tool to showcase our cellar and let our guests explore different flavors,” says Gafarova.
During Spring Wine Fling, they will have a wide selection of Rosès and other by-the-glass options available in flights.
1324 14th St. NW, DC; www.btoo.com
Built in 1883, this renovated firehouse now stands as a historic American brassier and barroom in the heart of Alexandria’s Old Town. Their menu features delectable seafood dishes, mouth-watering steaks and crisp salads. Over on the bar side of the restaurant, stylish wines and classic cocktails reign.
As their first year in Spring Wine Fling, general manager Kevin Johnson says Columbia Firehouse is eager for the opportunity to showcase some great domestic wines.
109 Saint Asaph St. Alexandria, VA; www.columbiafirehouse.com
Southern warmth and hospitality with a rock-star edge is the best way to describe Honeysuckle, a restaurant inspired by Chef Hamilton Johnson’s eclectic tattoos, diverse taste in music and love for South Carolina and Nordic cuisine. One of the most interesting things about Honeysuckle is the decor, according to beverage director Brad Gamble.
“As an ode to Charleston, an oak communal table made of recycled timber from one of South Carolina’s oldest community farms will sit in front of the acid edged copper wrapped bar,” says Gamble. “The team tapped local artist Rick Bach to create an impressive modern mural over the communal table, reflecting the artistry of Chef Hamilton’s tattoos.”
With atmosphere like this, Honeysuckle is featuring equally eclectic and offbeat varietals during Spring Wine Fling.
1990 M St. NW, DC; www.honeysuckledc.com
Joselito: Casa de Comidas
Family photos dating back to the 40s hang from the walls of this small, authentic Spanish restaurant on Capitol Hill, giving anyone who enters a welcoming impression. Joselito: Casa de Comidas loves to treat its customers like family and bring aspects of real Spanish culture to DC — dispelling the stereotypes of matadors and flamenco dancers, according to general manager Gustavo Iniesta. From indigenous Graciano wine to indigenous and foreign blends, their unique wine collection reflects Spanish culture as family-oriented, artistic and rooted in tradition.
“There’s a lot of culture inside Spain and we think that by showing the people our wines and our food, we can contribute to breaking all those stereotypes and teach them about the real Spain,” says Iniesta.
Joselito has always wanted to serve wine drafts, so they’re thrilled to use Spring Wine Fling as an excuse to do just that.
“I always said that drinking a glass of wine can transport you to where it comes from with the right knowledge,” says Iniesta.
With a variety of wine brands from obscure Spanish wineries, Joselito’s wine draft is the perfect way to get an authentic taste of Spain.
660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.joselitodc.com
Jug & Table
Wine isn’t just for elite palates and refined tastes anymore. Jug & Table takes away the intimidation of wine tasting with an open-arms approach. To general manager Dave Delaplaine, feeling comfortable about drinking wine is the best way to enjoy it.
“Wine loses some of its magic when you put it on a pedestal,” says Delaplaine. “We encourage our guests to try new styles outside their comfort zone.”
With eight wines on tap and more than 30 types of wine by the glass, it’s easy to try something new at Jug & Table.
“It’s fun to offer something special to our regulars while showing off our thoughtful wine program to people who aren’t as familiar with what we do,” says Delaplaine.
2446 18th St. NW, DC; www.jugandtable.com
As their first time joining Spring Wine Fling, The National Gallery of Art’s Pavilion Café will offer two wine flights, one red featuring Tempranillo, Malbec and Pinot Noir, and one white featuring Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. General manager Johanna Kearns says they’re especially excited to show guests that the café is a great spot to meet with friends year-round.
“There is no better place for folks to enjoy a drink,” says Kearns. “You can take your glass of wine on a stroll through the Sculpture Garden and take in the beautiful landscaping and sculptures by so many famous artists.”
7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, DC; www.pavilioncafe.com
Slate Wine Bar & Bistro
Based on Chef Danny Lledó’s upbringing in the kitchen and vineyard, Slate’s new American menu combines sustainably produced wines and cuisine with a contemporary flair. To set Slate apart from other American restaurants, Chef Lledó pulls from his Spanish and Portuguese heritage to give dishes like his award-winning Valencian paella an extra boost of flavor.
Slate will offer two wine flights, one European and the other from the West Coast, during their third year participating in Spring Wine Fling. While the European flight features three tastes and the West Coast flight features five tastes, both flights are examples of what Slate thinks you should be drinking during the spring season.
“These wine flights, and our other wine flights, are opportunities to challenge one’s palate and to see what one enjoys,” Chef Lledó writes in a press release. “Our philosophy for our wine list is to try to have something for everyone and introduce guests to new tastes.”
2404 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.slatewinebar.com
While Georgian culture and cuisine is largely undiscovered in the West, Jonathan Nelms plans to change that with Supra. Five years ago, after moving back to DC from Moscow, Nelms and his family missed Georgian food so much that they decided to start their own restaurant.
While their cuisine is delicious in its own right, what makes Supra really stand out is its expansive wine list comprised mainly of authentic Georgian wines. Rather than fermenting wine in a barrel or a stainless-steel tank, Georgians store it in underground clay vessels called qvevris. This ancient tradition has been passed down through generations of families for over 8,000 years.
“[Qvevri wines] are the truest expressions of Georgian wine-making,” says Nelms. “The wine takes on an incredible earthy quality. One sniff or sip, and you feel like you’re in Georgia.”
Joining Spring Wine Fling was the perfect opportunity for Nelms to spread the word about Georgian wine. He’s most excited to feature Orgo’s blanc de blanc sparkling wine made exclusively from white grapes in qvevri fashion.
“These [wine makers] really live among their history, and this wine is the loving product of that history,” says Nelms. “It’s a privilege to offer it to our guests and a privilege to drink it.”
1205 11th St. NW, DC; www.supradc.com
Using local, farm-raised products, Chef Thomas Cardarelli creates delicious modern American cuisine to bring gracious hospitality to all guests at Vermilion. Along with a menu focused on local ingredients, their bar also hosts a variety of local brews and spirits. General manager Jay Kendall says Vermilion has a unique wine list that features wines from all around the world as well as “outstanding wines grown right here in our backyard of Virginia.”
In addition to their usual wine list, Vermilion is adding Disznoko, Dry Furmint, especially for Spring Wine Fling.
“This crisp, fresh and fruity expression from one of the oldest wine regions in the world, Tokaji, Hungary, is a great spring wine that dances around your tongue,” says Kendall.
As Vermilion’s first time participating in Spring Wine Fling, they’re excited for guests to sit back, enjoy the experience and hopefully discover a new love for special wines they may not have tried before.
1120 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.vermilionrestaurant.com
From the rolling hills of Italy directly to your table, Via Umbria’s distinct wines, hand-picked by owners Bill and Suzy Menard, are a unique surprise to find in DC. Umbria’s distinct terroir as the only land-locked region in Italy with soil and climate perfect for winemaking has earned it the title of the cuore verde d’Italia — “green heart of Italy.” Chef Liam LaCivita mentions that because Bill and Suzy have personal friendships with farmers and winemakers in Umbria, many of their wines are directly imported by Via Umbria itself.
“We thought Spring Wine Fling was a great medium to show the wonderful wines of Umbria that are hard to find in DC, especially at retail,” he says. “There is just so much to love about these wines and the prices are so reasonable!”
1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.viaumbria.com
Spring Wine Fling runs from March 26 to April 1 at these and several more restaurants around the DC area. To learn more, visit www.wineflingdc.com.