Fermented Fruit

Virginia vineyards get autumnal

The grapes may be the star at Virginia wineries, but clever winemakers are combing apple orchards, pear groves and even pumpkin patches to create new fall pours. 

Corcoran Vineyards: When Lori Corcoran lost her Viognier crop to frost in 2010, she began playing with apple wine ($20). She was so pleasantly surprised that she upped production this year, bottling 600 cases. The crisp, mellow white is made with apples from Rinker Orchards, and pairs well with roasted chicken and vegetables, or a hearty fall salad.

Fabbioli Cellars: This Leesburg vineyard produces a pair of poire bottlings, including a port-style aperitif ($32). The jammy concoction is fortified with brandy distilled at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company that is made from Fabbioli's own Asian pears. Una Pera ($16) is a semisweet, heady wine with brown-sugar notes that should come out after dinner, alongside a warm fruit crisp or triple-cream cheese.

Peaks of Otter: Further south, this Bedford winery ferments Connecticut Field pumpkins (most commonly known as jack-o'-lanterns) in fresh apple juice to produce a golden Pumpkin Pie wine ($15) that is blended with baking spices. Its caramel-like sweetness is an ideal choice with pie à la mode.