The Todhunters spent 20 years traveling out from the city to the Middleburg area and looking at land before they purchased fifty acres in Delaplane in 2002. “It has always been our dream to have a vineyard,” Holli said.
There are ten and a half acres of vines planted at Three Fox Vineyards with Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc expected to produce 3,000 cases this season. (Their 2006 Alouette Cabernet Franc recently took a silver in the Vinifera Wine Growers Mid-Atlantic competition.) They are open for tastings, and the views while sitting and sipping are magnificent.
Over near the village of Rectortown, Vicki and Bill Edmands were preparing to swing open the gates (by appointment only) for the debut of their boutique vineyard, Vintage Ridge. “We want to provide something more than the typical tasting-room experience. Guests will be able to enjoy a flight of wines with delicious bites at a seated tasting within the working winery,” Vicki said.
Friends, family and some additional hands helped with picking their seven acres of vines, which will eventually produce Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Mourvedre, Syrah, Pinot Gris and Vidal Blanc wines.
Just around the corner, Holli and Moses Thompson invited neighbors over for their second harvest at their private Maizemoor Vineyards where they are lovingly cultivating Viognier and Chardonnay grapes ¬– both from Dijon grafted onto Napa root stock. “We produce all our own grapes, harvest, crush, press, bottle and label all our wine,” said Moses, who frequently tiptoes out at dawn to tend to the vines.
The Thompsons began growing in 2004, when Moses was out fox hunting and his friend George Panariello detailed the delights of a private vineyard. “While at a check, after a long run, taking our breaths, and giving the hounds a chance to catch theirs before casting off again, he whispered words about the joys of working in his vineyard,” Moses said.
“Sitting there on my horse, listening to George go on, I could imagine doing the same at my farm, Maizemoor,” Moses continued. “Surely, this was Thomas Jefferson’s dream: hunting Reynard the Fox around the vineyards that produce the wine on one’s table.”
On the other side of Paris Mountain in Berryville, guests were sipping a Pimm’s Cup on the lawn of Sandy Johnston and Laurie Volk’s Mansfield Farm as summer faded quietly. The event was a British Picnic Hamper Supper, a “Fun(d) raiser” to benefit the Blue Ridge Hunt. Bowties and garden hats were appreciated, yet optional.
There’s a whisper down the field where the year has shot her yield,
And the ricks stand grey to the sun,
Singing: ‘Over then come over, for the bee has quit the clover,
And your English summer’s done’.