Celebrate Virginia wine with Wine Down with Three Rivers Media. Join us as we explore some of the spectacular wineries our region has to offer.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just off Highway 52 in Max Meadows, Virginia is the beautiful West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery.
Owned and operated by Paul and Brenda (Humphrey) Hric, West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery is a stunning fourth generation homestead with roots dating back over a century in Wythe County. In 2003, the first vines in the West Wind vineyard were planted. By 2005, the vineyard produced it's first small batch of handcrafted wine and thus West Wind wine was born.
The Humphrey family acquired the farm formerly known as Mount Zephyr ("west wind") in 1914. Paul and Brenda moved back to Brenda's family homeplace in 2005 and established the winery site; therefore keeping the homestead all in the family. Family roots and rich history are the foundation that West Wind is built upon. David Manley and Jason Manley, nephews, have been instrumental in the development of West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery since the very beginning. Jason currently serves as the General Manager on site, but David (who has gone on to lead the Joint IDA of Wythe County) still lends a hand from time to time.
Thom and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm early autumn weather and made the short trip to West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery. It's always a treat to go on a bit of a field trip - especially when it comes with such a spectacular view. On the day we visited, the winery staff had all hands on deck. As it turns out, late September-early October is harvest time in Max Meadows.
Opportune timing left Thom and me plenty of time to explore the grounds and gift shop. Currently, there are over five acres dedicated to operations at West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery. In short, there was plenty to see and do, even on such a busy Friday on the farm. The short growing season in Southwest Virginia is ideal for growing high-quality grapes. After all, good wine can only start with good fruit. However, the SWVA climate also has its challenges with somewhat temperamental late spring and early fall weather patterns. Luckily, this autumn has been temperate. For the 2017 crop, West Wind is particularly impressed with the grapes that will go on to become their Riesling.
In the decade that West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery has been open, their wines have been awarded dozens of awards at a variety of competitions. They were also the second winery in Virginia to be certified Virginia Green by the Commonwealth's Department of Environmental Quality; the farm subscribes to principals of sustainability and minimize their impact on the environment when possible.
West Wind Wine is never manufactured. Every year, their small batches are created from vine to bottle with age-old winemaking techniques. Each harvest is hand tended (mostly by family) and the owners credit their success to that attention to detail - vintage to vintage. West Wind Wine is surely unique. There is a wine for everyone from their sweeter New River Red to the drier Galena Creek White. Past specialty wines have included their Heritage Reserve (currently sold out) and the current peach and blackberry wines available for tastings and purchase in the West Wind tasting room.
After heading out to explore the mid-harvest wineries with Jason, Thom and I took the time to discover the unique treasures of the gift shop. In addition to the wine available for purchase, the gift shop is stocked with local, regional, and even international goods. From handcrafted soaps and candles to jellies and jam (even a bacon one!), there is a taste or treat for everyone who visits.
West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery is located just off Highway 52 in the Fort Chiswell region of Max Meadows, Virginia. The farm is conveniently located near Interstates 77 and 81. Max Meadows is located around an hour from both Bristol and Roanoke and the North Carolina and West Virginia state lines. The winery tasting room and gift shop are open year-round; Monday through Saturday 11AM-6PM and Sunday 1PM-6PM. Planning an event? West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery is a picturesque setting for your weddings, corporate meetings, private parties and more. Visit them on their website (westwindwine.com) or give them a call at 276.699.2020 to learn more.