Owner(s): Philip Carter Strother
Winemaker: Emmanuel Galineau
Open to Public
Sun-Fri 11 to 5; Sat 11 to 6
4366 Stillhouse Road; Hume, Virginia 22639
Philip Carter Winery of Virginia Profile
Written by Brian—Sep 2, 2015
Nearly every aspect of the area around Hume, Virginia in rural Fauquier County is ideal for growing grapes. This was recognized years ago by local wine producers and several of the state’s most iconic wineries have opened their doors within a short drive of that village. One of these is Philip Carter Winery of Virginia.
It had been years since my last visit to Philip Carter and that was early in my blogging career. So I really needed to get back out there. An earlier attempt ended in failure due to winter weather. I managed to brave the treacherous road conditions only to find that the tasting room was closed. Just because I am stupid enough to drive on icy backroads is no reason why the winery should force employees to do the same. Good for them, I say. But I digress...
Anyway, I cobbled together a winery itinerary that included two wineries I had not yet visited and I tacked Philip Carter on to the end. It is sort of on my way home. Weather and road conditions were favorable, the gods smiled on me and the tasting room was not only open, but not terribly crowded.
The drive along along State Rte. 688 winds through the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge past farmland and wooded acreage until you at last you see the vineyards alongside the road and the entrance to Philip Carter. Over the tops of the vines, you will make out the tasting room, which strongly resembles a country schoolhouse. It is admittedly larger, but the red paint and tall windows lend it that schoolhouse vibe. Wondering around front, however, you will find picnic tables arranged neatly in the courtyard and a constant crowd of visitors enjoying a picnic or simply sipping glasses of Philip Carter wine while looking out at the vineyards and distant hills.
Inside you will find an modern, organized and tastefully decorated series of rooms. On the top level is the cashier, where bottles or tastings can be purchased. Just around the corner and down the stairs will bring you to a large room with tasting bars, leather furniture and a large fireplace. On an inclement day, this will serve handily as a space to warm in front of a fire and while away a bit of time with friends.
On my visit, I bellied up to the bar and found that eight wines were being poured. Just as I remembered, they were all exceptionally well crafted. As I sat down and prepared to write this short piece, I took a few minutes to read through reviews and comments on the Philip Carter wines. I was hard pressed to find anything negative, which is rather unusual, but it confirmed my own assessment. I distinctly remembered the Viognier from my earlier visit and I was not disappointed. I am a huge Cabernet Franc fan and I did enjoy the 2013 vintage, but the real surprise for me was the Norton. I can appreciate a well-made Norton, but I am not a huge fan of the varietal. I must say that the Oatlands Norton is as good as they come. It lacked the astringency at mid palate and while very fruity on the nose, it was far more complex than most Nortons. If you have never tried a Norton, this is the one you want to taste.
My visit was a little rushed, because it was the last of the day and I had a long drive ahead of me. Nevertheless, I did enjoy my return visit and left convinced that I should let less time pass before returning again. It really is a lovely venue, the wines are excellent and the staff is friendly and customer oriented. So I have to recommend that you stop in as well. When you do, please let me know what you think.