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Nestled in the heart of the quaint and unassuming town of Clifton, Virginia sits Fairfax County's first winery - Paradise Springs. Built on land that traces back to Lord Fairfax (the county's namesake), and the first bicoastal wine brand in the United States, Paradise Springs has a rich and inspiring history. Take a look and see why this winery is so special to Fairfax County. Open daily (Year Round) from 11am-7pm (and until 9pm on Friday); 6:30pm last call, 6:40pm last tasting time.
1. Award Winning Wines
Paradise Springs considers themselves "The Gateway to Virginia Wine Country" and is armed with one of the most talented teams in the Virginia wine industry, including its owners Jane Kincheloe and her sons Kirk and Drew Wiles. Among Paradise Springs' award-winning wines is the 2009 Chardonnay, which took home the coveted 2010 Virginia Governor's Cup, signifying it as the best white wine in the Commonwealth of Virginia! They've also been recognized with 2015 Gold for their 2012 Meritage and 2013 Chardonnay, and 2015 Silver for their 2012 PVT (Petit Verdot and Tannat) and 2012 Tannat (both unreleased wines). You can see a complete list of their awards here.
2. Tastings and Tours
Tastings are available everyday up until 20 minutes before closing. Last call for open wine is 30 minutes prior to closing. No reservations are needed unless you are with a group of 8 or more. Paradise Springs currently offers their signature experience tour and tasting on Saturdays at 2pm, & 4pm and Sundays at 3pm. The experience lasts about 60-90 minutes and includes a visit inside the historic cabin, a walk to the vineyard, a tour of the tank room, production area, & barrel room. A complete tasting of our entire flight of wines (including our fortified port style wine, Swagger) will be poured along the way. This in-depth walking tour will take you through the life of a grape at Paradise Springs and ultimately end back in the tasting room. For more information visit their website.
3. What's in a Name
The name Paradise Springs comes directly from the history books of Clifton, Virginia. Its origin was that of mineral springs on the west side of town. Clifton was considered a resort destination by many in Washington. It is said that past Presidents and Generals visited the town for its healing waters. In 1904, water from Paradise Springs was sent off to be tested and was found pure enough for commercial bottling. So in 1910, a bottling plant was constructed and Paradise Springs bottled water. The clear colored bottles displayed simply the word "PARADISE" blown into the glass. The Herald even once reported that Paradise Springs was "on the boom". Nonetheless, the business eventually went under and became nothing more than a historical reference.
4. Founding Clifton
It is said that the founding of Clifton lay in the aspiration to make great wine. One night, while returning from the war, Harrison G. Otis passed through the town on the Orange and Alexandria railroad. While sticking his head out of the window to get some fresh air, he heard the squealing of hogs feeding on the profusion of wild grapes that grew in the area. So in 1868, he returned to the area and planted vineyards on the west side of town. Like Thomas Jefferson, his attempts failed as there was not enough technology at the time to allow Virginia wines to succeed. Even though his venture did not go as planned, Harrison went on to purchase the Deveraux Railroad Station (Clifton Station), develop the post office, build the town's hotel, and become known as the founder of Clifton.