District Winery co-founder Brian Leventhal knew a good thing when he saw it. After opening the original Brooklyn Winery in New York, Brian and his fellow co-founder John Stires wanted to expand. They looked no further than The Yards in Capitol Riverfront, and the rest is history.
How would you describe Capitol Riverfront to friends and visitors?
The Capitol Riverfront is a quintessential part of Washington. There really isn’t any other part of the city quite like it. Where else can walk along the beautiful waterfront, catch a Nats game, and then dine at one of the numerous great restaurants? Oh, and did I mention that the area is flanked with beautiful outdoor green space and high-amenity apartments. An amazing place to raise a family, have a pet, and to live comfortably.
What is your favorite place in the neighborhood?
Other than the obvious...my favorite outdoor spot is one of the lounge chairs along the boardwalk to enjoy a beautiful Spring day. For dining and drinking, I frequent the recently opened Chloe as well as Salt Line, Osteria Morini, and Ice Cream Jubilee. Most of my lunches come from Sweetgreen. I also take my dog to the vet at Banfield Pet Hospital, get my haircut at Bang Salon, and buy my groceries from Harris Teeter. So I have lots of favorite places!
What was your inspiration for opening District Winery in Capitol Riverfront?
To us, this was the most exciting part of DC. To be able to have waterfront views and be part of a growing community made this a very easy decision for us. Capitol Riverfront is still in its infancy and we look forward to being a great neighbor for years to come.
What do you love about working in Capitol Riverfront and The Yards?
I chose to live at Arris, which is directly across the street from District Winery. So merely crossing the street as a commute is pretty amazing. Did I mention the views?!
District Winery has become quite the destination spot—how can people enjoy their day at the winery?
District Winery has lots to offer to local residents of Capitol Riverfront as well as to those coming to the neighborhood for the first time. Guests can enjoy dining with panoramic views of the Anacostia River at our onsite restaurant, Ana, take a tour of DC’s first commercial winery, or try a selection of District Winery wines at our tasting bar. We’re also a full-service event venue and host weddings, corporate events, and everything in between.
Tell us about the wine you’re making at District Winery, and more about where the grapes are sourced from.
The beauty of the “urban winery” is that we can bring grapes in from pretty much anywhere. Washington, DC is not located in a grape growing region so we work with farmers across the country and bring in a vast portfolio of grapes. All the processing is done onsite at District Winery by our expert winemaking team led by Winemaker Conor McCormack. Currently, we are sourcing grapes from California, Washington, New York, and Virginia. Some of the wines we will be making include Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the list goes on...
What are your favorite dishes and drinks on the menu at Ana, the winery’s restaurant?
Oh wow! That’s a tough question. It really depends what meal I am having. We just launched our weekday lunch menu and I can’t get enough of Chef Ben’s Ramen. For dinner, I always enjoy the Butternut Squash Muhammara followed by Celery Root & Grayson Cappelletti and pretty much any dessert. For a truly decadent brunch (which is precisely what brunch is all about) go for the Cinnamon Roll followed by the French Toast (which has nutella and coconut cream on it!). For drinks, I obviously love all our wine but we also have a really robust cocktail program. My personal favorite (since I’m a brown liquor guy) is the Figment of Your Imagination - a rye based cocktail with fig and walnut.
Use one word to describe the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.