1851 Vineyards is owned by John and Dabs Hollimon and is located just south of Fredericksburg. The General Manager is their daughter, Jeska Haggerty, and the winemaker is John Rivenburgh. The winery plans to open in October 2016.
I have had the pleasure of meeting the Hollimons a couple times during the past two years when they were talking about their vineyard and their upcoming winery. When I mentioned to John Rivenburgh that we would be in the Fredericksburg area during Labor Day weekend, he arranged for us to visit 1851 Vineyards winery and get a preview of what was to come.
As you enter the property, there is an old building that we thought was the tasting room and where we would be meeting everybody. We were wrong. Instead, we needed to turn right and drive past their seven acre vineyard where they currently are growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, and Albariño. The production building soon came into view and we parked in front and made our way around to the side. There was a crush pad already set up with equipment and barrels.
We met the Hollimons and John Rivenburgh, and learned the building you see when entering the property was a barn remaining when Carl Guenther started building Pioneer Flour Mills on the property in 1851. 1851 Vineyards, get it? Even though the winery and vineyard are located along the banks of the Live Oak Creek, the Hollimons decided against trying to get approval for any Creek winery names, so they went back to 1851 Vineyards. The barn may be used for special events in the future.
Dab Hollimon’s father bought the property in 1964 and the vineyard was started in 2013. When it was time to build a tasting room, John Rivenburgh suggested for them to build the production area first. After all, when they harvested the grapes from the vineyard, they would need a place to take them.
After touring the production area, we went to the front of the building where the tasting room will be. It is just a large room now, but will soon have a tasting bar. A large wooden door there is from an old building from the property. Besides John and Dabs Hollimon, Jeska Haggerty and their other daughter Julie showed us around.
It was now time to try some wine sampling and we couldn’t wait. John Rivenburgh had made all the wines, so we knew they were going to be good, and we were not disappointed.
John also showed us some of the Alicante Bouschet grapes fermenting in the bins from the current harvest. The distinct thing about Alicante Bouschet grapes is the red flesh of the grape provides red juice. Most red grapes when squeezed produce clear grape juice and the red wine actually comes from fermenting with the red skins.
1851 Vineyards is making great progress toward opening and we cannot wait to visit again when they are open.