Tag Archives: Wine

The Case of Wine: Barboursville Vineyards

28 Sep

That’s right, I’m back to the bottle.

Our featured object today is a wine bottle from Barboursville Vineyards, 1979.

Barboursville Cabernet Sauvingnon Wine Bottle, 1979

Label Detail, Barboursville Wine Bottle, 1979

Barboursville is one of the most richly filled historical properties in the Monticello region.  Though the vineyard and winery are far more recent additions- they were established in 1976- the property has a history that dates back to the early nineteenth century.

Barboursville Ruins

The property was originally owned by James Barbour, a lawyer, politician, and the first Governor of Virginia to reside in the Governor’s mansion.  But the mansion he is better known for here in Charlottesville is the Barboursville residence- now Barboursville ruins- built by Thomas Jefferson in 1814-1822.

Barboursville Ruins today

As the story goes, an aging Mr. Jefferson constructed the property over the course of eight years.  It was one of only three residential properties he designed, and reflects the characteristic Jeffersonian style we see around UVA Grounds and Monticello today.  His design incorporated an octagon room, a dome (never constructed), and even serpentine walls in the garden.

Sadly, we can no longer fully enjoy the architecture, as the house caught fire on Christmas Eve 1884, allegedly starting from live candles on an overly dry Christmas tree.  All that remains of the house are the ruins seen above, but if you make the trip to Barboursville, you can still walk around and explore the property and nearby Barbour family cemetery.

And of course, be sure to stop in to the winery to enjoy a tour by their fabulous guides, and sip or twelve of their delicious wines!


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.

The Case of Wine: Monticello Wine Company

23 Sep

Its currently 8:30 am, and I say its time for some wine!

No, I’m not a lush, it’s just today’s topic.

Although as I learned yesterday, its “OK” to drink before noon- as long as its not tequila- just ask Patti.

Unfortunately, I’m fairly certain that none of us would want to drink the wine I’m presenting to you today, so lets just enjoy their stories and their artful label decorations instead.

Monticello Wine Company

If you’ve ever driven an extremely backwards way into downtown, you’ve seen the historical marker for the Monticello Wine Company (across McIntire Road from the baseball field & recycling center).  The marker, and a collection of bottles  are all that currently remain of the Monticello Wine Company.  The building burned in a fire in 1937, but if you take a walk through the neighborhood, you will notice street names like “Wine Street” and “Wine Cellar Court” which clearly hearken back to the former winery.

Extra V. Claret, Monticello Wine Company.

Label, Extra V. Claret, Monticello Wine Company.

Extra Virginia Claret was Monticello’s most popular wine, even winning an international award in 1873 at the Vienna Exposition .  It was produced with Norton grapes, as are several well known Monticello region wines today.

Fine Old Port Type, Monticello Wine Company.

Label, Fine Old Port Type, Monticello Wine Company.

Spoiler Alert!

Join me on Monday for a continuation of this series, featuring some recent history, a clever woman, and of course, more wine!