Situated on Edgewood, one of the most gorgeous estates in the Keswick area, Keswick Vineyards opened their tasting room in 2008 and has since been awarded praise from viticulture critics and visitors alike. Their Story:
Keswick Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery specializing in small lots of high quality wines. Originally from Michigan, Al & Cindy Schornberg chose the historic site that is Edgewood Estate for their dream vineyard. After searching the country, this spot was recognized for its potential of producing world class wines and for the fact that it is set in the idyllic countryside near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A minimalist approach is taken in making their wine focusing instead on the vineyards to produce the best possible fruit to work with. Most of their wines are fermented using natural or native yeast and all of their current red wines are bottled un-fined and un-filtered. While approachable when young, most of the wines produced at Keswick Vineyards will see 5-10 years quite easily in the bottle, reflecting the personal tastes of the owners and winemaker.
Owners: Al & Cindy Schornberg
After six years of searching the country, Al and Cindy Schornberg finally settled on the Edgewood Estate in Keswick, Virginia as their new residence. “Since we didn’t move because of a job relocation, the entire country was open to us,” says Cindy. In moving from Holly, Michigan, the Schornbergs sought a desirable place to raise their children and a milder climate, particularly one that was well suited to grape growing.
When Al Schornberg moved to Virginia, he left behind the hi-tech corporate world he created in Michigan and traded it for the lifestyle he had dreamed of since childhood – as a vineyard owner. Having been an entrepreneur most of his adult life, Al was looking for an area that offered the excitement of a burgeoning wine industry. He found that potential in Virginia. Al recalls his grandfather’s stories of working at his family’s winery, Massena Cellars in France, and like his predecessor, his goal was straightforward: “ I just wanted to be able to enjoy a really good wine that I made. There’s something very natural and satisfying about that.”
With the Southwest Mountains as a backdrop, the vineyards at Edgewood Estate create a truly picturesque landscape. In the evenings, Al, Cindy and their two youngest children can be found enjoying a nightly stroll through the vineyards of their 400-acre estate. They can also be spotted on the second story porch of their old manor home watching the sun set over the rows of vines. Al and Cindy’s oldest daughters also enjoy this wine country lifestyle and reside nearby.
Upon purchasing the estate vineyard, the Schornbergs decided to dedicate themselves to producing the best wines in Virginia. The Schornbergs spared no expense in installing top-quality winery equipment, irrigation and root wells. Al and Cindy’s ultimate goal is that within ten years, Keswick Vineyards will be considered one of the finest wineries in the country. Al still holds on to the vision that he has made a reality: the image of himself sitting under an olive tree and sipping his own wine. Just as Jefferson once did at nearby Monticello and as did Al’s grandfather in France, Al is making wine and living his dream.
Wine Maker/Vineyard Manager: Stephen Barnard
Stephen started working in the wine industry at Groot Constantia Winery, the oldest winery in South Africa, as a pourer and tour guide. Through various courses of events he managed to find a position in the cellar as a cellar worker and then eventually became the assistant winemaker there. He studied Enology and Viticulture at Elsenburg Agricultural College. Upon completion of his studies Stephen became the assistant winemaker at Flagstone Winery where he worked exclusively with red wines.
Through the Ohio State Internship program he came to Charlottesville Virginia in 2002 and joined Keswick Vineyards as an intern and held that position until May 2004 when he took the position of Winemaker at Rappahannock Cellars. In June of 2006 he re-joined Keswick Vineyards as the Winemaker and General Manager.
Stephen’s philosophy for winemaking is minimal intervention. He prefers to focus on the vineyard to produce optimal fruit for wine making.. Keswick Vineyards is one of the few wineries that ferments most of its wines without the addition of yeast and do not fine or filter any or their reds since the 2006 harvest. Keswick Vineyards is committed to producing world class wines and are now seeing the potential Virginia, as well as Keswick Vineyards, has to offer.
Winemaker Stephen Barnard, originally from South Africa works carefully with his growers to manage over 40 acres of vines and create award winning wines straight or blended from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Touriga, Verdejo, Norton, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. All grapes are grown and carefully crafted and bottled on the estate. They’re also tasted by the tasting room staff at various points during the fermentation process and approved by many of the 1,100 wine club members. Grab a picnic blanket or a lawn game and enjoy the view of the pond and a visit from Mittens, the “official” greeter.
Blue Ridge Wine Excursions (SM) recommends this friendly stop on our tour Eastern side of the Monticello Wine Trail.
Contact Info and Hours:
1575 Keswick Winery Drive
Keswick, VA 22947
tel: (434) 244-3341
fax: (434) 244-9976
Special Events: Barbara Lundgren firstname.lastname@example.org