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Gray Ghost Vineyards
by
Terry Sullivan

Gray Ghost VineyardsSummary: In the War of Northern Aggression, John Singleton Mosby traveled the area spying on Northern troops. In present time, owners Al and Cheryl Kellert spy on the development of grapes in the vineyard on land once traveled by Mosby and his unit. Gray Ghost, a name given to Mosby by Union troops is also a name of a vineyard and winery, another example of how many Virginia wineries are preserving America's past.

The entrance to Gray Ghost Vineyards is off Rt. 211 that leads to and from Skyline Drive. A short drive past vineyards takes visitors to the parking area. Vineyards surround the winery and tasting room.

History

Al and Cheryl Kellert made wine at home and dreamed of having a commercial winery. Al discovered the world of winemaking over four decades ago. The head of the Chemistry department asked Al to make wine with him. Al has been making wine ever since. Spending time in Napa and Sonoma only increased the couple’s desire to make wine commercially. Their dream came true in 1986 when they bought property in Virginia's Rappahannock County and transplanted 160 vines from their Northern Virginia neighborhood. They sold grapes to other wineries while they converted a horse stable into a winery and small tasting room. The first vintage of Gray Ghost wines came from the 1993 harvest. The winery opened in July of 1994. An addition was added to house the new two-level tasting room.

Gray Ghost VineyardsThe Name Gray Ghost

The land purchased was once known as Mosby's Confederacy. Mosby commanded a small unit during the Civil War. His unit was to collect information about the Union Army and create general havoc while behind enemy lines. The Union Army couldn't find Mosby and referred to him as the "Gray Ghost." The term "Gray Ghost" was also used to identify other Confederate soldiers who eluded Union troops. The current location of the winery and vineyard is along one of the routes Mosby used during the Civil War. Al Kellert designed the Gray Ghost label from original pen and ink sketches he drew of Colonel Mosby.

Gray Ghost VineyardsVineyard

There are 8,800 vines on 13 acres of land. Varietal grapes include Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Cheryl individually prunes every vine.

Tasting Room

The roomy tasting room area has three tasting bars on the first floor each offering an intimate wine tasting experience. Wine accessories border the perimeter of the room giving visitors plenty of time to peruse the items. The second floor is an area for relaxation. Comfortable seating provides an escape to luxury. Add a glass of wine and easily spend hours in this soothing area. An outdoor deck looks over the vineyards and a beautiful garden area.

Gray Ghost Vineyards   Gray Ghost Vineyards   Gray Ghost Vineyards

Gray Ghost VineyardsThe Winery

The winery is adjacent to the tasting room. The winery building was converted from a horse stable. The stainless steel tanks gleam where stables once housed horses. The honey-colored wood ceiling contrasts with the cement walls and floor. In another building a short walk away, a painting of the Gray Ghost is the focal point of an attractive wine library. In another room, barrels stretch along the length of the barrel room.

Wines

Several wines were tasted at the time of a May visit. The 2009 Reserve Chardonnay was aged in oak for 15 months. The straw colored wine offered an aroma of apple, pear and caramel. The taste was smooth and fruity. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to caramel and butter. The 2010 Gewürztraminer was a light straw color. It had a floral aroma and roses with peach hints for a taste.

Gray Ghost VineyardsThe 2009 Merlot was a light ruby color and aged in French oak for one year. It offered a red fruit especially cherry aroma and taste. The fruit on the finish yielded to earthiness. The 2008 Cabernet was aged for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak. The ruby color had blackberries on the aroma and taste. The finish had mild tannins and a fruity aftertaste.

The 2010 Adieu Late Harvest Vidal Blanc was a golden color. There were peaches on the aroma and taste. Although sweet, the crispy finish cut the sweetness.

Events

Several fun events throughout the year take place at Gray Ghost Vineyards. The year kicks off with a Chocolate and Cabernet event near Valentine’s Day. Cheryl makes twenty different chocolate desserts. During April a black tie event takes place in the wine library. Attendees have a vertical tasting of some library wines. The winery’s anniversary is in July. An event with jazz and Civil War reenactments takes place. This event is educational for the entire family. Another black tie event takes place in November with the release of the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. There is a Christmas open house in December and a Santa event for children. Santa sits in a chair made from wine corks and an eleven foot tall cork Christmas tree.

Enjoy a visit to Gray Ghost Vineyards. Learn about American history as you discover Virginia wines. Experience great wines and southern hospitality.

Gray Ghost Vineyards
14706 Lee Highway
Amissville VA 20106

 

 

 


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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2006-2014