Nestled in the New River Valley, only a short distance from the New River and Little River, Whitebarrel winery sits on land that has been farmed for over a century in historic Childress. Childress is a mid-nineteenth century unincorporated area of Montgomery County, Virginia and the vineyards are near the old post office (1852-1952), and community store. Three historic buildings are all within 1 mile of the winery (Bowyer-Trollinger Farm, Cromer House, and Thomas Hall House). The Tasting Room and Wine production barn are both passive solar buildings with exquisite views of the vineyards.
In 2006, Whitebarrel, originally called Eclipse Winery, and then, Attimo Winery, started planting vines on a 17 acre parcel of Childress. Saving the land from the development of a residential community, the owners realized that the future vineyard estate would be well-located, resting on well-drained, clay and shale soil with veins of clay running through them. This type of soil is ideal for growing muscular wines with high extract and color, similar to the Ribera del Duero region in Spain and the Albarese soil in the Chianti region of Italy. The soil is not too fertile, allowing us to make award-winning Virginia wines, year after year. The vineyard is also situated in two small rain shadows, providing us with less rain than the surrounding area. Montgomery county is the driest county in the Commonwealth, with an average of ~40 inches of rain per year, and we receive an average of 31 inches of rain per year, similar to Sonoma, Ca. Grapes do not like ‘wet feet’ and this location provides for intense flavors in our wines.
In the vineyard, we grow both red and white grapes, including: (reds) Cabernet franc, Petit Verdot, Chambourcin, Baco Noir, and Saperavi. Our white varieties include, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, Petit Manseng, Chardonnay, and Seyval blanc. In our leased vineyards around Virginia, we also grow: Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. In 2018, our expanded vineyards will include Grenache blanc. Our farming techniques include mostly organic treatments, a bio-dynamic approach, and a focus on sustainable farming practices. Whitebarrel is a “Virginia Green” winery, and we recycle 95% or more of our waste, compost all of our vineyard and food scraps, and recycle water through our bio-retention system. We have a strong commitment to the environment and are wary of our carbon footprint in our wine making techniques.
In the cellar, we only use ‘ancient’ wine making techniques. We use minimal equipment, and many of our wine techniques come from the Georgian style of wine making. Many of our formulations and techniques are proprietary, and enable the production of fine wines, characterized by the maximum expression of the terroir, climate, and these ancient techniques. The harvest, which usually take place in September and October, is done exclusively by hand through a careful selection of grapes. All of the wine production is also done by hand, and we utilize ‘skin contact’ for all of our white wines, during fermentation, and, Sur Lie aging to extract the most flavor from the grape and yeast. Our yeast is unique, and are grown and expanded onsite.
In 2011, the Tasting Room and Wine production area were expanded, and in 2015, with the help of Rusty Monkey (Nottingham, UK), we rebranded Attimo to Whitebarrel. The Whitebarrel brand can now be found in stores and restaurants across Virginia and Washington D.C. In 2017, Whitebarrel has expanded its acreage to Floyd county, with the development of vineyards, herbs, and gardens. And, in late 2017, the opening of our Blacksburg Wine and Tapas bar (301 S. Main Street, Blacksburg, VA), marks the first of our expanded winery locations. Come see the oldest winery in Montgomery County and enjoy our award-winning wines.