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Heston Farm Winery
by
Kathy Sullivan

 

Heston Farm WinerySummary: Heston Farm is the location of the Heston Farm Winery and the Pinchgut Hollow Distillery. Watch for the continuing development of the Heston brewery. Heston Farm is becoming a “triple thread” facility, producing wine, spirits and beer in one location.

Traveling through West Virginia, we stopped by Heston Farm Winery to discover that this family owned and operated facility is producing wine, spirits and recently added a brewery. To reach the tasting room, visitors walk under a pergola and through an area filled with walkways around an array of prolific plantings plus a rideable children’s train. Attached to the winery tasting room, but a separate operation from the the winery, is a restaurant. This restaurant was once a part of Heston Farm but when they sought a liquor license they were forced to sell the restaurant.

Heston Farm WineryThe tasting room has a unique tasting counter that was built to resemble an old country wagon. The room offers a variety of items to purchase while an adjacent room has even more wine-related items to browse. Take time to notice the old-time set of wood mail cubbies that now hold bottles of Heston wine.

Heston Farm WineryWe met Mickey Heston, owner, and his daughter, Jenny Heston Heady, who is the winemaker. Mickey, who had owned a construction business, talked about how he enjoyed wines and had visited California where he visited vineyards and wineries. Discovering the wineries and vineyards of California increased Mickey’s interest in starting his own winery. The Heston Farm Winery and distillery opened to the public in 2011.

Mickey noted that both sides of his dad’s family made alcohol. One of his grandmothers made beer during the Depression. Mickey commented that he learned when he was young to make beer. He was taught the steps of beer making by one of his uncles. In the early 1930s, the family farm, where his family was making alcohol, was terrorized by revenue agents. His grandfather escaped by jumping from the second floor. The children had been taught, “If the revenuers come don’t let them get the alcohol.” Unfortunately one of the children tossed the two available bottles in the stove setting the house on fire. Although the family had been told to destroy any alcohol if the agents came to the house, they were not told how to get rid of it. Mickey’s commentary was that it is important to teach children to follow through on a concept, which would have included how to get rid of the alcohol. On the bright side of things, the revenue agents did help to put the fire out.

While all this trauma was occurring, the general store that Burt’s brother owned was under attack by revenue agents. Mickey related how at first the agents did not find any alcohol; however, as an agent was leaving the store, he chanced to look overhead at the transom. That was the location of the moonshine.

Mickey’s grandmother who made wine during the Depression was discovered and told she had to leave her home. She refused to leave and unfortunately passed away from a heart attack.

When asked why he opened a winery, Mickey said, “I like it.” He started to get together with some Italian friends who made wine. He traveled to California with his wife and learned about the industry. Mickey prefers dry, red wines. However he recognizes that many of his customers want sweet, fruit wines. Today Mickey and his daughter are producing wine with most of the fruit sourced from the Shenandoah Valley, Erie in Pennsylvania and California.

At the start of opening Heston Farm Winery, Mickey wanted to be sure to produce quality wines. He had Michael Shaps from Virginia as a consultant. “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Mickey estimates that 6,000 to 7,000 people visit Heston Farm. The winery is located just a short distance off the Interstate. Many visitors are from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

Heston Farm Wines

Heston Farm WineryCurrently Heston Farm Winery is producing a little more than 4,000 cases. The wine bottle labels reflect stories about the farm with a focus on the animals. The Siggy Riesling wine label features a goat and the tag “Mountain Goats are Always Free.” The wine offered notes of sweetness with a hint of dryness. The wine had a long finish. This is a rocking chair wine. According to the back label, Siggy was born on the farm. He could be found perched on boulders, on cars and the house roof. Pairing suggestions for this Riesling included poultry, pork, and shellfish. Chardonnay 2015 was a light yellow color. The wine offered notes of apple, pear and caramel.

Merlot 2016 was a light ruby color with a pink hue. The aroma was of black fruits. The taste included notes of plum, blackberries and blueberries. The finish was crisp and fruity.

The Blackberry wine is the favorite of the visitors to the winery. The Barry, Extra Sweet Blackberry Table Wine label with a picture of a bear notes, "It's Bear-E-Licious!" The wine offered an intense aroma and the blackberry notes carried through the wine. The finish was sweet and long. Mary Sue Blue, Extra Sweet Blueberry Wine, was a translucent red color. The aroma and taste had notes of blueberries. The wine was medium-bodied and the finish offered sweet notes.

Heston Farm WineryWhite Tail White, a dessert wine, was made with Vidal Blanc grapes and fortified with neutral grain spirits. The wine had 19.5% alcohol. This light yellow colored wine offered an aroma of flowers and dried fruits. It was very smooth with a taste of dried fruit. The finish had some heat.

Heston Farm Winery is a family friendly winery. Bring your young, well-mannered children to enjoy the mini train that runs on a small track around the front of the tasting room building.

When visiting Heston Farm Winery, take time to enjoy the countryside atmosphere that is provided.

Heston Farm Winery
1602 Tulip Lane
Fairmont West Virginia 26554

GPS: N39º 26.5075’ W80º 08.6741’

Pinchgut Hollow Distillery article

 

Article written July 2017.


 


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