HOW IT ALL BEGAN
After moving to Charlottesville from Houston, Texas, in 1995, we purchased the original 327 acre farm in 1996. In late 1998, a young man named Tom Vandenberg, knocked on our door and asked if he could lease ten acres for a vineyard. Sparked by his curiosity and research, we did our homework, and soon hired a vineyard consultant. A nursery in California had a few extra vines, so six months of hard work later, our first eight acres of vines had been planted.
Initially the plan was to simply sell the fruit, but in the interest of learning as much as possible, we decided to make wine with a portion of the harvest and sell the rest. 480 cases in 2000 became 1,050 cases by 2001, and it all sold! After a quick visit to California for ideas, we designed our winery on the back of a napkin and by October 1, 2002 opened our real, honest-to-goodness winery. Since then both the vineyard and the business have grown.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY
The Carriage House, our event space, was added in 2007 and we moved from the original winery to our new winery in 2013. More importantly, our team has expanded. Since Carrington King started working as the Vineyard Manager in 2002, both Stuart King and James King have joined the full-time staff in 2006 and 2012 respectively. Our first two full-time employees, Ray Wyant and Amanda Gee-Taylor, both of whom helped plant the original vineyard, are still with us. Michael Shaps, our winemaker from the beginning, was succeeded by Matthieu Finot in 2007 and we now have 12 full-time and 35 part-time employees.
While our production is now 10,000 cases and our Tasting Room is open year round, it still feels like yesterday that we planted our first vines.