Metro Weekly

Libation Laps

Washington Wine Academy marries wine and beer for its latest 1K walk in Crystal City

Between the recent AIDS Walk Washington and the Marine Corps Marathon, quite a few spectators might be inspired to move their feet. But if the thought of a marathon – or even a fun run or 5-kilometer walk – still seems a bit much, the Washington Wine Academy might have just the ticket. Actually, make that a passport.

Evolving since it began three years ago, the academy is set to offer the latest iteration of its famously popular tasting walks. The weekend of Nov. 16 and 17, pick up your tasting passport – beer or wine, please, no substitutions – and hit the indoor raceways of the Shops at Crystal City for the ”Vintage 1K Wine (or Beer) Walk,” offering a circuit of tasting stations of more than 20 wines or brews, a few bites courtesy of local restaurants, and water stations to keep racers in peak form, all leading up to a DJ-fueled finish line.

(Photo courtesy Crystal City BID)

”Nowhere in the country is this being done,” says Jim Barker, president and founder of the Washington Wine Academy, who pondered such an offering for years before making it a reality thanks to the support of the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) and Vornado/Charles E. Smith, which manages the retail space. ”It’s a great partnership.”

Barker adds that as a nonprofit entity, the cost of a $40 tasting passport – stamped at each station along the 1-kilometer route – helps the Wine Academy of Washington offer scholarships to area professionals in the wine and beer industry. Even those merely trekking this tippling trail, however, are bound to learn plenty about either beer or wine. Among the wines, offerings represent five states and seven countries. Among the beers, the selections range from Japan’s Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale to DuClaw’s Devil’s Milk out of Baltimore.

A word of warning, however, to those on the fence: ”My goal is to sell out before the event,” says Barker. “Saturday, for sure.”

The Vintage 1K Wine (or Beer) Walk is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16 and 17, with heats starting every 30 minutes between 1 and 5 p.m., entirely within the Shops at Crystal City, Arlington. ”Passports,” either beer or wine, cost $40. To purchase and to reserve a start time, visit

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Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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