5050 Stony Point Road
Barboursville VA 22923
Tasting Room Hours: Friday – Sunday 12:00-5:00
Well behaved pets are allowed outside, on a leash are welcome. Families welcome.
While I was working on creating the document that lists all the wineries and some pertinent details about each of them, I came across details I couldn’t find so I reached out directly to the wineries. I had a thought that it might be neat to also get to meet up intentionally for an interview with folks from the wineries. I wanted to learn more about the winery and the people behind them that keep the wine flowing.
I was really lucky to connect with Sarah from Chestnut Oak Vineyard while inquiring about some of those details for my list of Virginia’s vineyards and wineries. This is one of my favorite wineries because it is such a beautiful place to be. The entrance to the property is lined with vines, some beautiful artwork, and of course the anticipation of what’s to come. For me, visiting wineries is about so much more than just the wine. I look forward to seeing the architecture of the tasting room, or old buildings scattered about the property. Seeing the rows of vines, especially near harvest time when they are full and robust with fruit. I look forward to meeting the folks who pour the wine or that happenchance that the owner might be the pourer. What is the decor of the building where we might sit and enjoy a glass of wine? How about the grounds, are there sitting spots outside? It is a whole package kind of thing for me. While I enjoy a good glass of wine I more so look at the environment as a whole.
Chestnut Oak Vineyard has that whole package for me. Great wines, great people, beautiful property, and a comfortable and inviting tasting room. This was our third visit and I was really lucky to meet up with the owner, Janet, for a chat.
Janet came to Virginia from New Jersey to retire. After retiring from a career she had the desire to keep busy, which is where the winery came in and it certainly does keep her busy. She truly enjoys the challenges and getting to meet others in the industry.
When they bought the property and moved here there wasn’t any intent to open a winery. From our conversation, it sounds like it was kind of a happy accident. They started getting familiar with Virginia wine when they arrived here and decided that since they had the land why not plant some grapes.
They started out small by planting 2 acres of vines and grew to 6 beautiful acres. My videos and photos couldn’t even begin to do the beauty here justice. You’ll have to stop by and see it for yourself!
You’ll find a number of varieties grown here including Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Nebbiolo, Viognier, and Merlot. For other varieties, they purchase those from other Virginia vineyards. As a farm winery, all the wines are completely made from start to finish on-site.
Once the decision to grow grapes was made the plan was that they were growing the grapes to make the wine on-site. They brought on an advisor for the vineyard when they got started with planting. There is so much thought that goes into how a vineyard is laid out. This is where an advisor comes in, they bring the experience of how to lay the rows, where to plant, how far apart and so much more.
Janet got the farm winery license in 2009 and began selling wine. The tasting room came a bit later. In 2014 they added the additional acres of vines.
They’ve been making their own wine with their winemaker, David Eiserman, since 2014. He is very accomplished and they’ve received several gold medals in the Virginia Governors Cup.
Janet noted the most challenging part of owning a winery is the weather, it is unpredictable. You deal with being hit by frost or the need for rain but not too much rain. Another challenge is promoting your wine. The best way to sell the wine is having folks come to the winery, but you do also hope to get your wine into restaurants and stores. This can be a challenge for a small vineyard. They were in some of the area restaurants before covid, but this slowed down a bit due to the reduced demand. Sarah noted during our chat that some folks came in the weekend prior, they had dinner at a place called The Local Restaurant and had their wine and came by the vineyard for a visit from that. I took a look and on the menu, there was the Chestnut Oak Petit Manseng 2013.
I asked when they are creating a wine what is something they look for when it comes to the end result. Both Janet and Sarah noted that listening to what the customers want and conveying this to the winemaker. So if for example, there is a request for more sweet wines they’ll convey that information so he can make decisions on how he’ll produce a certain wine. Everyone really has an important role in the running of a winery. So much thought and care go into the process.
I also asked what their favorite wines from Chestnut Oak were. Janet noted that if it’s going to be a wine for sipping, she generally likes it to be a chilled one. Otherwise, it really depends on the meals she is pairing it with. She feels like the Chestnut One, both the 2016 and 2017, are really good wines. They both received gold medals in the Governer’s Cup. She’s also a fan of the Alba. Sarah has a list of favorites, but she highlighted ones like the Alba for her white wine and the 2017 Red Table for the red wine. She also really likes the Sparkling as well.
While I generally prefer red wines, it was a beautiful warm day, so I decided to go with the Rosa Virginiana. All I can say is, that was a great choice.
I asked Janet what her favorite part of owning a winery was and she noted that meeting people was. She doesn’t get to do that as often since bringing Sarah on, but she likes to come by and say hi, chat about the wine, and about where folks are from. I also asked Sarah what was her favorite party about working at a winery and she also said it was the interaction with people. Getting to chat with folks especially during this last year, was such a great social outlet for her.
Funny thing is that this is absolutely my favorite part of going to the wineries, I love meeting the people who created this amazing place and all those who play a part in making the wineries special. What a cool symbiotic relationship visiting wineries is. I try to convey to others what it is and it is this in a nutshell.
I really want to thank Janet for taking the time to speak with me in-depth about her lovely vineyard. I truly enjoyed our conversation. I also want to thank Sarah for welcoming me to come and meet up with her and Janet. So personal and kind.
For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of experiencing Chestnut Oak Vineyard I highly recommend stopping in to try a flight, a bottle, or a glass. If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting we would love to hear what your favorite wine was.
Peace, love, happiness & joy,