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Boxwood Winery
Terry Sullivan

Boxwood WinerySummary: Boxwood Winery in Middleburg, Virginia is an interesting architectural facility for the crafting of Bordeaux-styled wines.

What would you do after the family estate sold a National Football League team? In the case of John Kent Cooke, son of Jack Kent Cooke former owner of the Washington Redskins, create a winery. In the rolling hills of Middleburg’s countryside, Boxwood Winery seeks to become a world-class winery making world-class wines.

The winery facility is impressive. Architect Hugh Jacobsen designed the winery and adjacent rooms that include a tasting room, bottling room and barrel room. Light infuses the areas from a combination of windows, skylights and glass cupolas. Only the barrel room is kept dark.


Sixteen acres of grapes are planted on the property. The first plantings were in 2004 with supplemental plantings in 2005 and 2006. The French Bordeaux varietal grapes are planted: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Vineyard practices include VSP trellises, cane pruning and hand harvesting. The vineyard is monitored by a GPS custom designed system to record viticultural practices.

Boxwood WineryWinery

Boxwood is looking to France as a model to craft its Virginia wines as opposed to looking to California as a model. The consultant winemaker, Stephane Derenoncourt, is from France and makes several trips yearly to Boxwood. Canadian winemaker Adam McTaggart is the day-to-day winemaker.

Estate grown grapes are hand harvested, brought to the winery and sorted. Individual clones are fermented separately. Malolactic fermentation takes place in the barrels. Separate buildings of the facility are used for different functions. The crush pad and sorting are done at the rear of the stainless steel tank room. Twelve stainless steel tanks line the sides of the longest building. An ideal walkway was built behind the tanks on both sides. This allows for easy access to the top of the tanks. Wine is transferred throughout the facility by stainless steel pipes.

The barrel aging room is circular and maintains a constant temperature and humidity. Barrels are not stacked they are arranged in a circular fashion on top of rails. Below the barrels is a level of rocks with the earth below the rocks. This helps with the humidity control in the room.

Boxwood Winery      Boxwood Winery

The large bottling room holds two stainless steel tanks and has an automated bottling system. Wine travels through the stainless steel pipes to the tanks. There is space in this building for storage of bottled wine.

Tasting Room and Wines

The tasting room is the central building of the facility. Visitors enter this room and notice a polished stainless steel circular tasting counter. The room easily accommodated our group of twenty people. The stainless in the room contrasts nicely with the stonewalls. Stainless steel dump buckets sit atop stainless steel columns in the room’s corners. The tasting counter top is made with the same design as stainless steel wine tanks. It helps direct light to the wine so tasters can observe the wine’s color.

Boxwood Winery     Boxwood Winery

Boxwood Winery produces about 2,000 cases of wine. They make three different wines from the Bordeaux grapes.

Boxwood WineryThe 2009 Rosé was made from Cabernet Franc. It had a light orange rose color and offered a red berry fruit aroma and taste. The fruit lingered on the crisp finish. The 2007 Topiary was a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The dark purple color had a ruby rim. The dark fruit aroma and taste finishes with spicy notes. The 2007 Boxwood was a dark purple blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The black fruit aroma and taste offered nuances of blackberries and black cherries. The wine had bold tannins and finished with fruit yielding to spices.

Boxwood Winery is open to visitors by appointment only. The architecturally pleasing building is a state of the art winemaking facility that is an interesting winery to visit.

Boxwood Winery
16 East Washington Street
Middleburg, VA 20118

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