9 VA Wine Makers You Must Meet


1. Tim Gorman, Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery

tim gorman

9423 Batesville Road, Afton, Virginia 22920
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In 2002, the Gorman family decided to open their own winery. Tim’s years in the vineyard as a respected grape producer have served him well as Winemaker at Cardinal Point. The quality of the grapes has everything to do with the quality of the wine, and his award-winning vintages are evidence of his skill both as a grower and as a vintner. He looks forward to discussing his wines and answering your questions when you visit.

2. Ben Renshaw, 8 Chains North


38593 Daymont Lane, Waterford, VA 20197-1038
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A large part of the 8 Chains North business is vineyard management. Ben Renshaw maintains their own vineyards — 8 Chains North and Furnace Mountain — and provides custom management for several other Northern Virginia wineries.

3. Matt Barbagallo, Above Ground Winery


P.O. Box 2203, Purcellville, VA 20132
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Above Ground Winery co-owner and winemaker, Matt Barbagallo, is a Loudoun County native who ventured into winemaking under the guidance of his mentor and renowned vintner Doug Fabbioli who enlightened, instructed and encouraged him throughout the process. He began making wine in 2007 with a mail order wine kit – a very humbling process that inspired him to learn more about the craft. After attending classes with Linden Vineyards winemaker Jim Law, Barbagallo decided to forge ahead with becoming a winemaker, and progressed to making wine with local fruit juices and, later, with grapes to produce his first vintage of Chambourcin, Cabernet Franc and Merlot in 2009. Barbagallo continues his 25-year career in computer logistics and procurement management today; the methodical, calculated skills he has developed in his career assist him with the preciseness required of a winemaker.

4. Jim Dolphin, Delaplane Cellars


2187 Winchester Road, Delaplane, VA 20144-1734
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Jim began his obsession with making wine in 1998 as a home winemaker and by 2005 he was making 28 different wines in the basement of their home. It was time to make the step and find land to grow grapes and start living the dream. After an exhaustive search of land in several counties the current location of the vineyards and winery was purchased in 2007. Jim’s immediately began reaching out to Virginia growers to purchase fruit. Criteria was important to him in that no grapes were purchased from a vineyard that was also making wine and the vineyard management had to meet the standards for making outstanding wine. Low yields and meticulous viticulture management. Jim and Betsy have worked together on every phase of the development of Delaplane Cellars over the past 7 years and are still married today.

5. Sébastien Marquet, Doukénie Winery


14727 Mountain Road, Purcellville, VA 20132
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After his 12th birthday, he made a personal decision to become a winemaker. At 13, he was sent to The Lycée Viticole et Oenologue de Beaune in Burgundy. In 1989, he produced his first wines. The experience was his confirmation that he had taken the right path. From 1989-1992 he created wines from prestigious villages in Burgundy. From 1993-1996, he managed vineyards and produced wine in Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France which elevated his knowledge allowing him to combine his Burgundy techniques to the Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhones varietals. His adventurous spirit led him to launch the first Caribbean vineyard, in tropical weather conditions in 1996. In 2003, his connection to Dr. D’Arcy Dornan, opened the door to a California experience. Sébastien was employed by many wineries in Sonoma and Napa Valley. Today he finds himself in beautiful Virginia, where he is general manager/winemaker at Doukénie Winery. His new challenge: to produce high quality consistency, vintage after vintage.

6. Doug Fabbioli, Fabbioli Cellars


15669 Limestone School Road, Leesburg, VA 20176
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It is said that the passion that Doug Fabbioli has for making quality wines has been passed down from his paternal grandfather, Leone Fabbioli. When Leone made his wine in the basement of his Elmira home in the 1940’s and 50’s he would take special care to sort the fruit, keep the lots of wine separate and get to know the growers of the fruit before deciding to buy. Doug employs time honored traditions of constant care and evaluation of quality along with the modern scientific techniques to both grow the grapes and make the wine at his winery.

7. Jake Busching, Grace Estate Winery


5273 Mount Juliet Farm, Crozet, 22932
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Jake Busching can most accurately be described as a “winegrower.” This concept is a holistic way of combining the farming and husbandry of the vines with winemaking, traditional in Europe.

8. Carl DiManno, 868 Estate Vineyards


14001 Harpers Ferry Rd., Purcellville, VA 20132
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For Carl, and for 868 Estate Vineyards, winemaking is about combining the very best that nature has to offer with artisan techniques and practices that enrich wine in order to put the best possible product into the bottle. Carl uses meticulous attention to detail and a careful blending of old world techniques that highlight terroir, with new world practices that help showcase the best characteristics of the fruit in order to create the truly expressive, award winning wines at 868.

9. James Batterson, James River Cellars


11008 Washington Hwy., Glen Allen, Virginia 23059
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James has been immersed in Virginia wine for over a decade, yet crafts most of his work behind the scenes. He currently develops over fifteen different styles of Virginia-grape wine, when his attention is not required by James River Grounds Management- for which he is one of the owners. James is also a graduate of the College of William & Mary.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy 7 Great Winery Stops This Holiday Season! and 6 VA Wineries You Have Not Tried.

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