Greenhill Winery and Vineyards has been pouring wine for connoisseurs and novices anticipating a true Middleburg experience since 2013.
It all started when proprietor David Greenhill couldn’t resist the 128-acre property that was formerly Swedenburg Estate Winery, one of Virginia’s first wineries. With a surname like Greenhill, it seemed destiny would reign when he would own a landscape lush with green hills—and now—dotted with red and white grapes.
The farm was first established circa 1762 when the Virginia colony was under British rule. In the early 1800s, the property was known as Valley View Farm on what was called Ashby’s Gap Turnpike, today’s Route 50. With a stunning backdrop of the Blue Ridge and Bull Run Mountain ranges, the winery includes a tasting room, 20 acres of vines, a pond and an impressive stone Manor House built in 1762. Rare, white Charolais cows, one of the oldest French cattle breeds, graze the fields.
Originally from North Carolina, David Greenhill has called Virginia home for over 15 years. An entrepreneur, he’s co-owner of Satcom Direct, a satellite communications company with offices in Washington, New York, Florida, London, Moscow, Dubai, and Hong Kong.
While on business in D.C., he often drove Loudoun’s country roads covered in natural beauty and historic treasures—the magnet that drew Greenhill to return again and again. Rebekah Pizana, director of sales and marketing, said, “David would ride his Harley exploring wineries probably dreaming one day of starting his own.”
All those rides paid off. The property became available, and in May 2013, Greenhill acquired the estate. Now, he said one of his goals is “to produce the finest wines possible joining ranks of other Virginia wineries to ‘bottle shock’ California and the rest of the world with quality wines and an artful passion for winemaking.”
When Greenhill opened his winery in August, 2013, joining him were Pizana and Sébastien Marquet as winemaker. A native of the Burgundy region of France, Marquet uses all French oak barrels in his winemaking. He has now been in America for 25 years and has won several awards, including Gold, Double Gold, and Best of Class from Sonoma, San Francisco, and San Diego competitions. The winery is part of the Middleburg American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the Loudoun County Mosby Wine Cluster.
“We’re not trying to recreate California wines or wines from the Finger Lakes,” Pizana explained. “We want to create true, Virginia wine. And we don’t want to get in Sébastien’s way, so he feels free to use his own creative juices.”
Pizana described Greenhill as rustic French—“it’s relaxed elegance without being pretentious,” she said. Light fare, including specialty cheeses, crackers, sausages—plus honey from their own bee hives—is available. Guests can choose a picnic package or bring their own to pair with wines while sitting under the covered patio, or near the vines overlooking the mountains, or inside the tasting room. On weekends, local musicians perform.
Beyond the vines is the old Manor House. Wine Club members appreciate adult-only private tastings inside with its massive stone fireplace; the dining room is actually the original 18th century patent house. This unique, historic house also is available for private parties and dinners.
Guests will soon experience something new at Greenhill: an equestrian-themed tasting room expected to open early 2016. Mirroring the Middleburg look, it will have a polo bar with images of fox hunting, horses, riding, and lots of exposed wood. In other words, it will be “very Middleburg,” Pizana said. The current tasting room also will offer merchandise.
What sets Greenhill apart from other local vineyards?
“Our dedication to quality wine and service,” Pizana answered. “We’re not just in business to crank out wines; we want to serve high-quality wines in the best service possible. We’re dedicated to taking Virginia grapes and producing wines respecting our unique terroir. That’s what makes us different.”
With such a rich past and a promising future, Middleburg celebrates Greenhill and its commitment to present Virginia win in all its glory—one sip at a time.
(Greenhill Winery & Vineyards is located at 23595 Winery Lane off U.S. Route 50 in Middleburg. The winery can be reached at 540-687-6968 and the website is www.greenhillvineyards.com. It’s open seven days a week from noon until sunset (March 14-Nov. 30) and noon-7 p.m. (Dec. 1-March 13) except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when it is closed. Dogs on leashes are permitted in outdoor areas.)