About an hour from here is an amazingly beautiful vineyard, developed by Paul Breaux as one of the area’s destination wineries. They purchased 400 acres of land to the east of the Appalachian Trail near the border of VA and WV. They are six miles south of Harper’s Ferry WV. When you cross the bridge from MD to VA on US 340, turn left at the gas station and drive the six miles.
On the site, they planted 100+ acres of mostly vinifera. This was one of the few large scale, well bankrolled wineries in VA in the 1990’s. First class all the way. Paul Breaux had done well in real estate. You may know of his company, Sun Realty. If you rented a place in the Outer Banks, it may have been one of his. In an interesting “six degrees of separation” moment, it was Sun Realty that rented us a house on the Outer Banks for our honeymoon in August 1980, when they were a fledgling company.
In the year 2000, we first went to visit the vineyards with friends, after a morning hike in Harper’s Ferry. The building is impressive. Way bigger than almost any winery I had ever seen in the mid-Atlantic. Now, after a trip to Napa and Sonoma, I can put it into a different perspective. Barboursville in VA also has impressive grounds, but we never saw the other big VA wineries until years later. So, for us, this place was awesome. They had invested in much better equipment than any Maryland winery we had visited in the 1980s or early 90’s. This place even has a misting machine in the barrel storage chambers, to keep the barrels from drying out by regulating the humidity. And, they are still growing.
Coming up to the building yesterday, we saw massive construction going on. A new building that promises to add more capacity for storage of production, as well as surprises, since they are not revealing yet what all will be housed there.
We are charter cellar club members. Breaux and Linden are the VA wineries we support as case club members. Black Ankle and Boordy are the cellar clubs in MD that we also support. As a hobby, wine collecting is not inexpensive, but it beats car collecting, or having a boat, or playing golf. All those other things are money sumps, just like our winery visits are. We have become very selective about where we go and what we purchase now that we are retired. We continue our Breaux membership because we believe they provide a great value for the money. The wines for the club are not available to the general public.
Yesterday we went to pick up six bottles. We get two bottles every two months, or a case a year. It is one of the more affordable clubs, as others were requiring two bottles a month. We were last there in October. The hostess opened a bottle of one of the cellar club wines for us to taste to decide if we wanted to purchase more. We ended up getting a couple of bottles of the Cabernet Franc Reserve, and a couple of bottles of the Viognier, which has won numerous awards. Viognier is a wine that Virginia does a very good job of producing, and Breaux makes a stellar bottling.
We bought a baguette and some salami, and took our picnic lunch of local Howard County cheese, and my brownies out on the patio to enjoy the view.
Served with a bottle of Lot 10-08, a cellar selection. We enjoyed a glass and corked up the bottle to bring home for later.
As a committed locavore, I want to support local wineries as well as the local farmers. Even extending my tendencies to buy local to buying pottery, and plants, and services. Supporting local businesses puts some of our money directly into our local economy, and I feel good about that. Not to mention, day trips to wineries are a benefit of living in a very good viticultural climate.