The Fredericksburg, VA, region continues to be a strong part of a growing Virginia wine industry. October is Virginia Wine Month, and that makes now a prime time to visit one of the area’s newest producers of craft beverage.
Wilderness Run Vineyards officially opened its tasting room last fall on a farm situated within the historic Wilderness Battlefield off State Route 3 in Spotsylvania County. The winery’s tasting room, in a red barn from which sloping vineyards provide a scenic backdrop, offers wines from around Virginia, as well as Wilderness Run’s own red blends.
If you’re looking for a poster child for combining this region’s rich history with modern tastes, this is it. Harry Pagan, Brandon Pallen and Chris Portmess, the team running the winery and brewery, have made the farm’s historic location an important part of the Wilderness Run story.
That history goes back to the Revolutionary War, when nearby Wilderness Tavern was said to have supplied provisions to troops on their way to Yorktown, where the British would surrender.
During the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson was brought to a hospital tent on what is now farm property. His arm was amputated here, and he died seven days later in Guinea.
The beers from 1781 Brewing Co. have historic ties. All of the recipes are developed by Pagan and Pallen. The Washington Hare Honey Porter, for example, traces its roots back to what were known to be some of George Washington’s favorite porters—those brewed by Robert Hare in Philadelphia.
It’s part of the brewery’s “Portrait Collection” of European session beers made with American ingredients. These beers are all named for historical figures, and their labels are representative of the brewery’s vibe—fun, modern, yet observant of history.
Amid all of this, Wilderness Run is quickly developing a reputation as a gathering spot. The winery hosts musical artists of all genres on weekends on its stage, crafted from a pontoon boat. Two beers are usually on tap each weekend, but come early. These are true microbrews, and the have proved popular, so they go quickly.
A grassy hillside and hilltop patio provide comfortable places for families, couples and groups to set up lawn chairs or lay down blankets and enjoy an afternoon.
A great time to experience this is Wilderness Run’s second annual Harvest Festival, Oct. 24, 2015, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the winery. The festivities will include live music from Quinto Son, Blues Buckets, Mojo in Motion and Fall Line, and food from food trucks including McCoy’s BBQ and Pifer Bros. BBQ. Cigars from em.bargo will also be available to enjoy with your wine and craft beer. Bring a lawn chair and make a day of it.
Another way to see Wilderness Run and other Spotsylvania County wineries is to take Fredericksburg Trolley Tours’ new winery tour. In addition to Wilderness Run, stops include Mattaponi Winery, Lake Anna Winery and Eden Try Estate & Winery.
But you still won’t be finished exploring all of the wines the Fredericksburg region has to offer. For that, buy yourself a ticket to the Grapes & Grains Trail, a collection of four wineries, three breweries and the A. Smith Bowman Distillery. These tickets never expire, so you can explore at your own pace. Your $15 ticket gets you VIP tours at all eight trail stops, a commemorative glass and discounts in trail stop gift shops. Learn about all of the trail members here.
Celebrate Virginia Wine Month with a visit to Wilderness Run or any of the Fredericksburg region’s other fine wineries. You won’t be disappointed.