At Virginia’s wineries, high design invades the tasting room

At Virginia's wineries, high design invades the tasting room
Visitors see an underground cellar at the Hugh Newell Jacobsen-designed Boxwood Esatte, whose modern, Architectural Digest-worthy look breaks an aesthetic mold / © Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post

If you’ve ever made your way into Virginia’s wine country, you’ve probably seen your share of log-cabin chic. Golden-hued wooden beams are the material of choice for holding the roofs of tasting rooms aloft, while the tasting bars are cobbled together from rustic stone. Countrified kitsch fills every corner not occupied by wine bottles.

Your first visit to one of these cozy dens of commerce is always memorable. But after you’ve spent several summers sipping cabernet franc, viognier and chambourcin — the wines the state makes in abundance and, some argue, with the most success — the wineries begin to blur. At least they have for me. These days, I’m thirsty mostly for a different point of view.

So I roll out to Middleburg, where Boxwood Estate Winery began doing public tastings in 2012 in a pristine temple of winemaking designed by the Washington firm of avowed modernist Hugh Newell Jacobsen. []


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