First Pick

Get in on the action of Virginia's wine harvest

Halloween weekend celebrations usually mean kiddie corn mazes and halfhearted haunted houses. But area wineries are getting in on the action, celebrating this year's harvest with parties, sneak tastes of future vintages, and some candy-centric wine pairings.

Hartwood Winery This Saturday's Harvest Festival ($15 including wine tasting) will feature 11 food-friendly bottles, including the semisweet DeWesse White ($15) and the steel-aged Rappahannock Red ($17), made from the estate's French grapes (pictured), including Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc and Chambourcin. Take hayrides, make scarecrows and order food from Crazy Jacks, a local food truck serving steak-and-cheese sandwiches, all on the vineyard's sprawling property.

Fox Meadow Winery Taste the winery's crisp young whites, including the 2010 Pinot Grigio and Vidal Blanc, out of the barrels and tanks before they're released next year at Saturday's Taste of the Harvest ($8 for cellar tastes). The upstairs event pairs current releases with Halloween candy ($6 for the flight). Candy corn should be an ideal match for the honeysuckle and peach of the 2008 Oak Chardonnay.

Potomac Point Winery Book a Fall Harvest Tour ($32; reservations required) through Sunday for an in-depth look at the winemaking process, along with tastings of newly pressed juice and the fermented and aged finished product. You can also book a tasting of wines paired with seasonal desserts ($19), including a pumpkin chiffon mousse with a gingersnap crust.