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Barboursville Vineyards
by
K. L. Sullivan

Visiting Barboursville Vineyards will give you the opportunity to visit a winery, take a wine tour, enjoy dining and history all in one trip. The historical theme is evident in the land, ruins, grapes in the vineyard as well as the naming of the signature wine.

With 850 plus acres, Barboursville Vineyards has 140 plus acres planted with grapevines. The Barboursville tasting room is centrally located on the property and a magnificent view is available long before reaching the parking area.

Approaching the visitor center, to the right is Palladio Restaurant. Upon entering the visitor center, one is greeted and offered assistance. We began our visit with a brief stop in the gift area and then proceeded to the tasting bar. The tasting bar is of significant length and while we were there a special tour group was assisted with a tasting.

After we tasted several white wines, we were introduced to Bill Nye who took us on a tour of the Barboursville facility. Bill, who has been at Barboursville for ten years, was friendly and enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge of wine, the Barboursville Vineyards and Winery and the historical significance of the site.

Taking us to a large, room with windows lining the outside walls, Bill discussed the history associated with the Barboursville winery. One can see the ruins of a former Governor’s mansion. Thomas Jefferson designed this residence for Governor Barbour. Built in 1814, a Christmas Day fire destroyed the building in 1884. Looking out from the winery one can see the red brick remains of the building with chimneys attempting to touch the sky. In addition, visible but not accessible for sightseeing, is the 1804 Inn and The Vineyard Cottage. If one is interested in staying at the inn or cottage, contact the Visitors Center. A short drive from the visitor center parking lot is a parking lot for the ruins. Even today you can imagine the magnificence of an age gone by but not forgotten.

After we left this delightful room we were escorted to another large room with an assortment of antique winemaking tools. Barboursville is eager to acknowledge the importance of the history of winemaking. This is one of the largest displays of antique wine tools we have seen to date.

 

 

Perhaps the preservation of wine history is important because of the Zonin family’s seven generations of winemaking in Northern Italy. In 1976 they established at Barboursville the first Virginia vineyard devoted exclusively to European grape varietals. The influence of this Italian family with over 3,700 acres of vineyards throughout Italy is apparent when you notice the wine available for tasting. You will see Italian grapes such as Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese all planted on the current estate at Barboursville.

 

The historical theme is carried to the naming of Barboursville signature wine, the 2004 Octagon. This wine’s name is a tribute to Thomas Jefferson’s architectural interest in building rooms in the shape of an octagon. A special room in the winery with an octagon-shaped ceiling in the center is used to age wine in barrels that will be used to blend future releases of Octagon. From this Octagon room, Bill showed us the other oak barrels and stainless steel tanks used for making and aging wine.

A very important aspect of Barboursville Vineyards is the emphasis on quality. The decision was recently made to no longer grow a particular grape in the vineyard. This was due to the quality of the grape being grown and the effect it was having on the quality of wine made. This grape is being replaced with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Currently Barboursville makes 30,000 to 35,000 cases of wine each year. The grapes come primarily from the 140 acres of Barboursville’s own grapes.

The best wine will be made from the best grapes. Great wine cannot be made from grapes of poor quality. Bill noted that Luca Paschina, winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards, believes that a winemaker should take what Mother Nature gives you, bring it into the winery and do no harm to the grape.

Bill led us back to the tasting room where we continued with our wine tasting. Barboursville makes many different wines and you have the opportunity to taste most of them. If you are uncertain of the style of wine you like or grape varietals you like, stop at Barboursville and taste up to seven whites, eight reds, and three blush and dessert wines. If you do know what you like, try something different.

Barboursville Vineyards
Barboursville, VA

GPS: N 38 °09.626’  W 078°16.648’

 

 

 

 


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