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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Fredericksburg area gets its own alcohol trail

A new tourism initiative aims to promote the Fredericksburg area’s various alcoholic-beverage producers.

The Grapes and Grains Trail allows people to buy a $12 ticket that gets them a tour of the Hartwood Winery, Potomac Point Winery, Lake Anna Winery, Mattaponi Winery, Blue & Gray Brewing Co. and A. Smith Bowman Distillery.

The ticket also includes a stemless wine glass for tastings with the Grapes and Grains Trail logo on it, and a 20 percent discount at each facility’s gift shop.

All of the facilities are in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. M.C. Moncure and Debbie Aylor, who manage those counties’ tourism departments, have been planning the trail with the six participants for several months. It’s patterned after other successful programs outside the area.

The local program offers a bit of a twist, however. Most trails feature solely vineyards, while Grapes and Grains has purveyors of wine, whiskey and craft beer. A. Smith Bowman master distiller Truman Cox calls it a “different spin on just the standard wine trail.”

“It has a little bit for everyone,” said Cindi Causey, who owns Potomac Point with her husband, Skip. She said the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop in the Shenandoah Valley is the only other mixed trail that she is aware of.

Causey said most wine trails involve vineyards that are a much larger distance from each other than the local one. All of the stops on the Grapes and Grains Trail could be hit in one full day.

Causey noted that her vineyard has already partnered with others on the trail, including using A. Smith Bowman’s whiskey barrels to age Potomac Point’s port wine. She said extending the partnership was a natural fit.

The six participating businesses are each holding events June 16-17, Father’s Day weekend, to officially kick off the Grapes and Grains Trail. Many feature music, food and other festivities. Tickets can now be purchased at the vineyards, brewery and distillery.

The partnership is part of an overall effort to increase awareness of the area’s vineyards, distillery and brewery. Many of the individual participants have been taking steps to increasingly open themselves up to the public over the past few years.

For example Blue & Gray opened the Lee’s Retreat brewpub, allowing customers to watch beer get made as they sample a glass over a meal. And the Bowman distillery recently completed the first phase of a renovation that now allows the public to tour the site.

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/businessbrowser/2012/05/17/fredericksburg-area-gets-its-own-alcohol-trail/