I’ve actually been meaning to write this post for several weeks now, but, well, life intrudes in ways that I really can’t discuss publicly right now.
Nonetheless, recently, Kellie and I visited the first winery to open in Prince William County, Virginia, The Winery At La Grange, located in Haymarket.
The public portion of the winery is located in a highly-renovated late 18th century estate that, as the winery’s website shows, has a history unique to Virgina:
About two years ago, the award winning winemaker and owner of Pearmund Cellars, Chris Pearmund, contemplated the idea to build a high-end winery but this time he looked towards Prince William County where there was no winery at all. In November 2005, Chris found a piece of property that offered a unique venue. The property would support a 10-12 acre vineyard, as well as a fully-operational winery, and an opportunity to turn an existing 1790 Manor House into a unique tasting room. His cursory research into the 20-acre piece of property found that it was rich in history as it had been originally carved out of Robert “King” Carter’s Bull Run Tract in the 1600s and later became known as La Grange. The property’s ownership changed many times during the past 4 centuries. The estate’s acreage size increased and decreased during those years. Fortunately an eye-catching three-and-a-half story solid red brick Manor House built in the 1790s by George Green survived and is about to become alive again after many years of neglect.
“If I brought all of this together,” Chris (the 44-year old creative genius thought), “this can be a place where different varietal’s can grow as the soil condition is perfect, I can make new and different wines, and this historic venue would attract not only wine lovers but also history enthusiasts and tourists alike to the already rich historic Haymarket area.” Once the word got out about Chris’ idea to build the winery, Prince William County officials embraced his venture as being very good for the western part of the growing county in Northern Virginia.
Chris’ formidable reputation in making award winning wines, building, and operating the successful Pearmund Cellars coupled with his personal charisma and passion for wine, made it easy for him to capture the interest of a unique group of investors to join him in making this project come true. As a result, PWC, LLC was formally launched in December 2005 with the purchase of the property at 4970 Antioch Road, Haymarket, VA. Among the wine loving investors you will find a Corporate Chief Financial Officer, an information systems development engineer, a construction engineer, a winemaker who is versed in wine sales and marketing, a writer and history buff, and a professional webmaster to name a few. The name of the project soon became The Winery at La Grange and work began immediately to prepare for and construct the new winery building. Renovation of the manor house was immediately started as well as cleaning up the debris and overgrowth resulting from lack of care of the last owners.
The setting of the winery itself is quite pleasant. Lots of open space and picnic table areas for a wine and cheese and whatever-type gathering. And, a great view too.
La Grange has only been open for a year or so, which means that most of its wines come from vineyards in other parts of Virginia. That’s not a bad thing at all, but it will be interesting to go back in a year or two and taste the first wines from grapes actually grown in Prince William County.