The Case of Wine: Oakencroft Vineyards

26 Sep

This past spring, ACHS hosted a fantastic traveling exhibit from the Library of Virginia entitled Virginia Women in History.  In case you missed it, here’s a brief recap.  The exhibit is an annually recurring  show, with new women featured each year.  For 2011, eight women were chosen from various time periods throughout Virginia history to represent the achievements and courage of this commonly under-appreciated group of Virginians.

One of the amazing eight women LVA featured for 2011 was none other than Charlottesville’s own Felicia Rogan, whose winery –Oakencroft Vineyards– is the subject of today’s post.

A Vignette

As one of the students from the Village School who participated in an interactive tour of the Virginia Women in History exhibit put it,

Well, Ms. Rogan might be the most popular woman here, because she makes wine, and wine makes people happy!

Of course, being ten, this was quickly followed up with,

Right?  At least it makes my mom happy!

And that, dear friends, is what makes my job so endearing.

In all seriousness, though, I’d say that she was completely right.  Felicia Rogan might not be the first person you think of when you think women’s history, but she sure did do something great for Charlottesville that we can all appreciate.

Bottle, Oakencroft Chardonnay

Label, Oakencroft Chardonnay

Obviously someone already did, since this is one of the few wine bottles we have that is empty.

The Facts

From the Library of Virginia exhibit brochure.








Before starting her business in Charlottesville, Felicia Rogan was a writer.  After moving to Virginia in 1977, Rogan became inspired to begin winemaking.  She established her beloved Oakencroft in 1983 by converting her husband’s Virginia cattle farm into a vineyard, after befriending noted viticulturalist Lucy Morton.  Choosing her former gardener, Deborah Welsh, as her winemaker, the all-female venture was only the sixth winery open in Virginia at the time.  Today, over 135 wineries dot the countryside throughout Virginia, chiefly concentrated in Northern Virginia and the Monticello region.  Rogan’s career came to an end in late 2008 when she retired and sold her winery, but her influence remains in the continued propagation of wine-making in our area.


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