As a child, I visited what my father reverently referred to as the “hallowed grounds” at Manassas, Virginia. The Stone Bridge at Bull Run and the statue of Stonewall Jackson towering above left a lasting impression. Because of this, I was curious to discover a new addition to the historic area.
The Winery at Bull Run
The Story of The Winery at Bull Run
In 2012 The Winery at Bull Run opened its doors – re-purposing and revitalizing the property previously known as Hillwood.
The 21-acres along Lee Highway in Centerville, Virginia border the historic Civil War battlefield. The owner, Jon Hickox’s love of history and desire to establish a family-oriented winery was the genesis of this perfect combination of history, agriculture and award-winning wine.
Visiting The Winery
My visit is on a cool, rainy Friday afternoon. While skies are gray outside the energy inside is upbeat and sunny. Folks are arriving to enjoy sipping wine and live music. With the holidays rapidly approaching there’s a festive atmosphere inside the rustic-style tasting room.
The building is steeped in history.
Display cases house Civil War artifacts and signs on the wall detail the famous First and Second Battles of Manassas. Also provided is the history of Hillwood and family associated with the farm which stood witness to some of the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War.
Above the cozy fireplace, I notice the impressive mantle. Later I learn it’s made from the only piece of hand-hewn lumber saved after Hillwood suffered a devastating fire in 1990. The foundation of the original structure and root cellar remain on the grounds as a tribute to the heritage of this historic property.
The winery maintains the architectural integrity of its surroundings. Split-rail fences line the drive and the structure’s design is evocative of a barn. Two types of barns. The “little barn” represents what would have stood on the property in the 1800s and is built with reclaimed wood collected from barns across the region.
The larger section or “dairy barn” is styled to resemble a bigger dairy barn like those present in the early to mid 20th century.
A Working Winery and Social Hub
But The Winery at Bull Run is not just a history lesson. It’s a working winery and thriving social hub attracting guests from nearby Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and locations beyond.
Today Eddie Fam the marketing and event director is gracious enough to spend time chatting with me and introducing me to the wines. The Winery at Bull Run serves up splendid varietals hand-crafted with Virginia grapes and one, in particular, I’ve recently become familiar with called the Norton.
America’s Oldest Native Grape
The Norton was originally cultivated in Richmond in the early 1800s by Dr. Daniel Norton and is America’s oldest native grape. The grape was extremely popular in Virginia as well as the mid-western states in the 19th Century and is making a comeback along the Virginia Wine Trail today.
The Norton’s bold berry flavor with a slightly peppery finish is often paired with beef. It’s fitting for a grape with historic significance to be growing here.
Later, we’re joined by the owner, Jon Hickox. Hickox grew up nearby and as a child received a metal detector as a gift. He immediately began searching for Civil War treasures. Those treasures are now on display at the winery and a notable part of the fulfillment of a dream – combining his love of history and the area to create a new landmark in a place already filled with landmarks.
Winery at Bull Run Weddings and More
The Winery at Bull Run has something for everyone. Yes, that is a bit cliché, but there’s wine, weddings, corporate events, war, history, family lore, agriculture – and of course new memories to be made.
As I travel the burgeoning Virginia Wine Trail I’m intrigued by the rich history of the grape in the Old Dominion. It’s enjoyable learning the stories of wineries that are appearing and in many cases reappearing along the landscape.
I can wholeheartedly endorse this recent addition and encourage history buffs and wine enthusiasts alike to give the Winery at Bull Run a try.
As their brochure states, “The Winery at Bull Run invites its customers to enjoy the fruits of the present while learning about its past.”
The Winery at Bull Run
15950 Lee Highway
Centerville, Virginia 20120
To book a private corporate event, fundraiser, or wedding, contact Eddie Fam at [email protected].
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