Just east of Culpepper, Virginia there is a destination winery on a historic seventy-five acre farm tract. Allyson and Pat Kearny restored the abandon nineteenth-century farmhouse that now serves at the tasting room and gives Old House Vineyards its name. I should point out that the farmhouse is only part of the draw. The pristine, almost manicured vineyards, view of the distant Blue Ridge and well-maintained grounds make this a popular venue for wine drinkers in the Culpepper area and beyond.
I had not previously visited this winery and as I drove up, I was impressed by the throng gathered on the grounds. This is a winery that obviously does a brisk business. Games of corn hole were being played, guests were mingling in the tasting room or idling on the lawn and a brick pizza oven was doing a brisk business. Beyond the vineyard, near the large pond, there was a space obviously dedicated to weddings. Like I said, this is clearly a destination winery.
At the same time, I feel obligated to stress that this is also a serious winery. The fruit is grown exclusively by Old House. All the wines have been produced and bottled on the estate since the first vintage in 2001. The recent addition of Andy Reagan as winemaker can only help cement the wineries reputation as a serious producer of small-batch, world-class wines.
On the day of my visit, seven wines were being featured in the tasting room. I tasted three different Vidals with varying levels of residual sugar, but my favorite white was the Chardonnay, which was the first produced by the new winemaker. It was lightly oaked in French barrels and had crisp apricot and pineapple notes. Among the reds, I really enjoyed the Cabernet Franc that saw twelve months in French oak. It had structured tannins, red fruit on the nose and palate and just a touch of pepper in the finish. It’s a very well-crafted wine.
So the quality of the wine and the beauty of the property make this another winery for your list. It will also be interesting to wait another year or so and see what Andy Reagan is doing with the wine. Check it out and let me know what you think.