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Virginia Wine: Burnley Vineyards

Virginia Wine: Burnley Vineyards Our winery guide, Blue Ridge Wine Excursions, tells the stories of the people who make the Virginia wine country and the Virginia wine industry and what it is today.  Charlottesville wineries and wineries in Virginia are owned and operated by entrepreneurs with  diverse backgrounds, philosophies, and experiences.  Blue Ridge Wine Excursions Wine Trail Guide showcases the mosaic that is our vibrant local wine community. We invite the reader to enjoy these stories and to join us on the Monticello Wine Trail!


Burnley Vineyards

Grape Expectations

By: Boo Barnett

Though one of the oldest Virginia wineries, small Burnley Vineyards is often overshadowed by its neighbors down the road,

Burnley Vineyards, Virginia Wine Tours

Barboursville and Horton. When Army Col. C.J. Reeder retired after his last posting in Charlottesville, the family decided to stay put.  The Reeder family began by planting grapes in 1977 and selling their crop to other local wineries. Then, in 1984, they took the leap to making their own wine.  Col. Reeder’s son Lee and his college sweetheart turned wife Dawn took over the winemaking and the tasting room.   All these years later, with 32 acres currently under vine, the Reeders offer a list that runs from the venerable norton grape presentation to flavored dessert wines.

“Lots of people think wine is just like Pepsi; put in a few ingredients and boom,” remarks Lee Reeder, vintner.  “Really, every year is an adventure in Virginia wine.” With no two harvests ever alike, Reeder relies on experience and creativity to coax the best from his vines.  Every year involves careful calibrations, tweaks, new yeasts or flavoring.  Every year calls for some new innovations: state of the art trimming equipment, wind machines designed to blow off frost, and deer fencing or bear fencing to deter the wildlife from feasting on your life’s work.

Burnley produces 5,000 cases of its own wine now, with 95% of the grapes grown on their own land.  You’ll find Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Norton, Barbera, Riesling, Vidal Blanc, Orange Muscat, Muscat Blanc and Chambourcin.  The usual suspects are straightforward and pleasant representations: Chardonnay, Norton and Riesling, for example, remain faithful to the naked grape and are immediately identifiable to the tongue.

Dog Gone Red, Moon Mist, Aurora, and Peach Fuzz, however, require some explanation by the willing and friendly staff.  All family wineries give their own special spin to each offering: otherwise, why go to the enormous bother?  Burnley gives its flavored wines an extra boost; there is no mistaking the chocolate influence, the specific fruit-forward tones, or the sweet nature of the dessert wines.  Whatever flavor a particular flavored wine is supposed to present, it presents big ... (continued)


For more information on Virginia Wine, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Blue Ridge Wine Excursions, Virginia Wine Country, Wineries in Virginia, Virginia Wineries, and Charlottesville Wineries, follow the below link for our Virginia Winery Guide:

Virginia Wine, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Blue Ridge Wine Excursions, Virginia Winery Guide, Virginia Wine Country, Wineries in Virginia, Virginia Wineries, Charlottesville Wineries

Book formats:

  • ISBN-10: 1499296436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499296433

Start The Wine Tour at Waterford Village

Waterford Village

Picturesque Waterford Village provides an ideal setting for starting an unforgettable winery tour in the lush farm country of western Loudoun County. The village, a National Historic Landmark, places visitors inside an eighteenth-century community, tempting travelers to head out to the nearest vineyard on horseback or in an open carriage.


A beautiful assortment of agricultural enterprises nurtures the village; farmers nearby raise cattle, sheep, and produce for local markets. Among the area's crops are grapes, including those grown at the scenic Village Winery and its ten acres of vineyards just outside the village.

NOVA Wine Tour Directions

This recommended NOVA wine tour will take you through the following destinations:

A. Start the tour at Waterford Village B. Village Vineyard Winery Tour C. Corcoran Vineyards Winery Tour D. End: winery tour at Hiddencroft Vineyards

See map below: [nova-wine-tour]

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Village Vineyard Winery Tour

Village Winery and Vineyards

The theme of craftsmanship in artisan trades runs strongly through the history of Waterford Village, and this remains true today in the Virginia wine country of Loudoun County. As the Village Winery and Vineyards website states, "All of our wines are crafted entirely by hand to preserve the subtle flavors of the grape varieties and are aged in French oak barrels to further enhance them." And, for good measure, the winery avoids mechanical pumps in order to preserve a wine's "true character."

Village Winery Owner

Owner Kent Marrs has been operating Village Winery and Vineyards since 2005. He has created a wonderful setting for wine enthusiasts to savor their drinks. Contributing to the beautiful ambience is a spring-fed creek that runs year-round through the property to neighboring Catoctin Creek, which flows on through Waterford Village. Another spring on the winery grounds also feeds into the creek.

The wine tasting room is in a farm structure that also houses the barrel rooms. Featured wines are a Viognier, with aromas of pineapple and apricot; Apple wine from Virginia fruit; Cabernet Franc Rosé; Merlot; Merlot Cabernet Franc Blend; Cabernet Franc with aromas of raspberry and black currant; and a Petit Verdot.

Village Wine Tasting Building

The Village Winery's tasting room also serves Elderberry wine, a combined Apple and Elderberry wine, and a non-alcoholic Sparkling Elderberry drink. The versatile berry also is used to make the winery's Elderberry syrup, Elderberry chocolate syrup, and Elderberry beverage mix. The winery also produces an Elderberry Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette is considered by many to be the best Elderberry offering, though the Sparkling Elderberry drink is the most popular Elderberry product.

(You may read an interview with Kent Marrs at this blog site.)

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Corcoran Vineyards Winery Tour

Corcoran Vineyards

The winery tour continues four miles away, passing through the historic streets of Waterford Village and then traveling north on gentle roads that lead to a 1750 restored log cabin. This building houses the wine tasting room of Corcoran Vineyards, which serves seven distinctive wines to visitors. Corcoran's website emphasizes the winery's "traditional methods" to produce its beverages, relying on "limited production, meticulous cellar work, and careful selection of fruit (to) ensure the highest quality possible."

Relax by The Water

The boutique winery has been open for a decade, and owners Jim and Lori Corcoran have been committed to developing relationships with other area vineyards. Selections from Corcoran and three other wineries were represented at a recent Spring Chef's Table at Leesburg's Lansdowne Resort. Lori recently concluded her term as president of the Loudoun Wineries Association after serving on the board of directors for four years. She also serves on the board of directors for the Loudoun County Visitors Association.

Traditional Barn and Building

The Corcoran Vineyards offer the following wines in the tasting room: a 2009 Traminette, 2009 Chambourcin, 2009 Cabernet Franc, 2009 Malbec, 2010 Meritage, and a 2007 Seyval Blanc. (The vineyards' website says that it has sold out of the 2008 Viognier.) And the Corcorans have plans to add to their wine offerings; in June they expect to start brewing beer, making their winery the first winery in Virginia to operate a brewery as well.

To keep their customers updated on the vineyards' developments, Lori publishes a blog on the winery's website called "Off the Vine." The winery also has Facebook and Twitter accounts.!/corkysfarm

Hiddencroft Vineyards Winery Tour

Hiddencroft Vineyards

The wine tour heads to the most northern winery in Virginia, Hiddencroft Vineyards, just three miles west of Lovettsville and six miles south of the Potomac River. Owners Clyde and Terry Housel have a decade of experience growing grapes on six acres of land, and the entire farm is on 26 secluded acres. Their results are no longer hidden from anyone: their 2008 Cabernet Franc won the Gold Medal at the 2011 Virginia Governor's Cup competition. Seven other wines also have won significant awards.

Clyde Housel first started making wine in 1993, experimenting with some Concord grapes. He planted his first commercial vineyard in 2001, and the Housels started their winery in 2007.


The wine tasting room offers four reds: a 2008 Cabernet Franc, Vintage Blend Cabernet Franc, 2007 Chambourcin (Vintner's Reserve), and a Dutchman’s Creek Blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Tannat. The three whites produced are a 2009 Vidal Blanc, 2009 Traminette, and a 2009 Chardonnay. And the three fruit wines offered are a Vitis Rubus (Raspberry Chambourcin), Grandma’s Love Potion (Blueberry Wine), and a 2010 Sweet Cherry. Hiddencroft Vineyards grows the fruit on its property.

Hiddencroft takes its name from its reclusive location and from the Scottish use of the word "croft" as a small, enclosed field. But the Housels' award-winning wines are no secret. Hiddencroft is openly displayed on Facebook and Twitter, with links to recent blog posts from satisfied visitors.!/hiddencroft

Start The Wine Tour at The Historic Clifton Inn

The Historic Clifton Inn

Starting a winery tour at the historic Clifton Inn near Charlottesville places one in the heart of what many call "Jefferson's Virginia." Thomas Jefferson's father, Peter, owned the land on which the Inn sits, and Thomas' own world-renowned Monticello home is just a few miles away. The Jefferson Vineyards stretch out just south of Monticello.

Winery Tour Directions

This virtual winery tour begins at the Clifton Inn and takes you through Jefferson Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, and Blenheim Vineyards. Below you will find step by step driving directions for this winery tour.

  1. Start at: (see map) Clifton Inn 1296 Clifton Inn Drive Charlottesville, VA 22911
  2. Winery #1: (see map) Jefferson Vineyards 1353 Thomas Jefferson Parkway Charlottesville, VA 22902
  3. Winery #2: (see map) Keswick Vineyards- Charlottesville Weddings 6131 Gordonsville Road VA 22947
  4. Winery #3: (see map)Blenheim Farm 31 Blenheim Farm Charlottesville, VA 22902-7756

Jefferson Vineyards Winery Tour

Jefferson Vineyards

Virginia wine country has no stronger advocate than the nation's third president: Jefferson expressed his fondness for the fruits of the vineyard — "Good wine is a necessity of life for me," he is quoted as saying — and wine production was part of his plan for his plantation of 5,000 acres. Jefferson's viticulturilist put the first plantings in the ground in 1774, but the timing was terrible, as the Revolutionary War soon stopped the grape-growing efforts. More than two centuries later, in 1981, Monticello's caretakers planted vineyards again. (Six years later, Monticello was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a prestigious international recognition.)

For the tasting room, Jefferson Vineyards' dry white wines include a 2010 Pinot Gris, 2010 Chardonnay, 2009 Chardonnay Reserve, and 2010 Viognier. Its semi-dry white wines are a Vin Blanc and 2008 Vin de Trois. Its dry reds are a Vin Rouge, 2008 Merlot, 2009 Petit Verdot, and 2008 Meritage. (In addition, Jefferson Vineyards has seven "library wines" not included in the tasting fee.)

Jefferson Vineyards (see map) 1353 Thomas Jefferson Parkway Charlottesville, VA 22902 (434) 977-3042

Open daily 9am-5pm


Keswick Vineyards Winery Tour

Keswick Vineyards

The pleasant 11-mile drive to Keswick Vineyards for the next wine tasting includes an area considered "one of the most scenic in America" by The New York Times. Routes 22 and 231 make up "a two-lane country road…framed by rolling green pastures of horse, cattle and sheep farms." Along the way is Keswick Hall, a luxury club and estate owned by Orient-Express Hotels.

Keswick Vineyards lies on the historic 400-acre Edgewood Estate, part of the original Nicholas Meriwether Crown Grant of nearly 18,000 acres set aside in 1727. The setting, framed by the Southwest Mountains, is among the most captivating in Virginia wine country. Owners Al and Cindy Schornberg spent a half-dozen years searching for the ideal location to create their vineyards, bringing with them the entrepreneurial vision that sustained Al in his high-tech business. Keswick Vineyards produces six varieties of wine, and also makes a gourmet chocolate sauce using the vineyards' Norton wine.

The Keswick Vineyards' tasting room features three white wines and three reds: a 2009 Les Vents d'Anges Pinot Gris, 2010 Verdejo, and 2009 Viognier Reserve; and a 2009 Consensus, 2009 Cabernet Franc, and 2007 Heritage.

Keswick Vineyards (see map) 6131 Gordonsville Road VA 22947 (434) 244-3341

Open daily 9am-5pm


Blenheim Vineyards Winery Tour

Blenheim Farm

For a sophisticated wine tour seeking a celebrity conclusion, Blenheim Farm provides the appropriate rock-star finish. Musician Dave Matthews, whose performing roots are in Charlottesville, started Blenheim Vineyards 11 years ago. The winery has two vineyard sites growing five European varietals: Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The farm also has its own 18th-century heritage, complementing the histories of Jefferson and Keswick vineyards: it is located on a historic Virginia farm claimed in 1730 by Secretary of the Virginia Colony John Carter.

blenheim vineyards tasting room

Blenheim's wine tasting room has been open for just two years, and the small winery is drawing significant attention. Certainly its high-profile owner is part of the reason, but a June/July 2009 article in Flavor Magazine points to the skill of winemaker Kirsty Harmon and to the dedication of members of the Matthews family who run much of the operation. Harmon cites the importance of the popular Viognier grape as well: "There’s a huge range of Viognier styles in Virginia. There’s something for everyone. This is ours."

Blenheim Vineyards produces six white wines and seven reds: a 2009 Blenheim Farm Chardonnay, 2009 Painted White, 2010 Chardonnay, 2010 Viognier, and 2010 Rose; and a 2009 Painted Red, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Syrah, 2009 Seven Oaks Merlot, 2008 Cabernet Franc, and 2009 Petit Verdot. Blenheim also makes white and red table wines.

As the concluding stop for the winery tour, Blenheim Farms can "Say Goodbye" (to quote musician Matthews) with a website affirmation that applies to all three vineyards: "the goal … is to make high quality wines that reflect the climate, soil, and beauty of the surrounding Piedmont landscape."

Blenheim Vineyards (see map) 31 Blenheim Farm Charlottesville, VA 22902-7756 (434) 293-5366


End The Tour at The Clifton Inn

Beautiful Wine Tour Ending

The end of the winery tour brings guests back to the Clifton Inn, whose gourmet restaurant has a generous selection of fine wines.

The Inn's spectacular 100-acre setting in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains provides an ideal environment to savor the memories of a visit to Virginia wine country.

The Clifton Inn 1296 Clifton Inn Drive Charlottesville, VA 22911 (434) 971-1800