Owner(s): Beida Jade Bird
Winemaker: Seth Chambers
Open to Public
Daily at noon
4970 Antioch Road; Haymarket, Virginia 20169
The Winery at La Grange Profile
Written by Brian—Nov 10, 2014
There is only one winery in Prince William County, but it’s not as if it’s isolated. The Winery at La Grange is technically part of the large cluster of wineries in the northwestern corner of the Northern Virginia Wine Region. Although much of the area is rapidly urbanizing, the the land around La Grange still maintains a rural feel. At the center of the expansive property is a grouping of winery buildings that include a restored eighteenth-centry manor house, which serves as the tasting room.
La Grange is owned by Beida Jade Bird, which is a multi-billion dollar Chinese corporation. So, while the winery might be viewed as just a business opportunity for a large multi-national, all wineries are really businesses. There may be some vague goal to ship wine to China, but I’m told that in recent years the 7000 to 8000 case production levels have only satisfied local demand. Having said that, their website lists a number of wines made exclusively for the international market.
While exploring the property I noticed a sign that directed me to “Ask about La Grange’s unique wine club.” So I sought out and spoke with the wine club manager. Rich pointed out that the members determined the characteristics of the wine club. All of the unique wines, the best wines, are reserved for the members. Eighty three percent of the La Grange wine is sold through the club. They also don’t ship. Rich told me that this was at the member’s request and people have driven from as far away as Florida to pick up a shipment. So what gives?
If someone will drive that far for a wine pickup, there must be something serious going on with the wine. Rich poured the seven wines from the regular menu and then let me taste a couple club selections. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have been very happy with the regular tasting. There was an excellent, lightly-oaked Chardonnay and a beautiful Rose made from Cabernet Sauvignon, that was just the lightest pink in color with floral notes, great mouth feel and peach notes. They were also pouring a very nice Vidal Blanc/Traminette blend and a variety of well-crafted red blends. I could go on at length, but I’ll just say that the wines were absolutely stellar. Remember though, these were from the “public” tasting sheet.
Then Rich poured the Reserve Cabernet Franc, which is a club selection and a San Francisco gold medalist. It’s mixed with a little Tannat, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, but in very small quantities. It’s still technically a Cab Franc. It was silky smooth and balanced, with soft tannins. This wine was filled with currant along with other red fruit and a little white pepper in the finish. Virginia makes some excellent Cab Franc and I can rattle off the names of several great ones, but this wine was completely out of the park. Now I get it. I’d probably drive across the country for a bottle of that wine.
So what else can I say? Well, the property is nearly as nice as the wine. Despite large crowds, the masses were well dispersed and there were ample little corners, where you might even find some privacy. There are tables in and around the tasting room and outdoor tasting bars are available in good weather. This is clearly a popular venue whether or not you're a wine-club member. It’s easily accessible from DC and it’s not far from Interstate 66, so stop in and let me know what you think.