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Historic Wineries

March 2, 2011

I read a great article in Preservation Magazine the other day on historic winery buildings. I never gave much thought to the idea, but sipping wine in an antique, historic space brings new depth to the new experience. When BC and I were in the Champagne region of France last year, we visited a couple of centuries old vineyards. It gives me chills to think about the number of vintners who walked through that maze of cellars over the years. I feel like in some ways you actually feel history more in a old wine cellar, it’s damp and dark, and, save for electricity, it hasn’t changed all that much.

Here’s a roundup of some of the most historic wineries or vineyards in America. Open a bottle and enjoy.

The barn that houses the winery at Adair Winery and Vineyards in New Paltz, NY is over 200 years old. Fitting since the French Huguenots first planted grapes in the Hudson Highlands in the 17th century! Who knew wine grapes have been floating down the Hudson for so long?

George de Latour changed Napa Valley when he came to the region in 1900. He purchased Fred Ewer and the four stone walls of the original, 1885 building remain the core of Beaulieu Vineyard.

Holy smokes, the Rhine House on the Beringer Vineyards estate is sensational. This home, created for Frederick Beringer in 1884, was to be a Californian villa reminiscent of his family’s impressive old German home on Mainz-on-the-Rhine.

The Buena Vista Winery in Carneros was founded in 1857. The original winery is a California Historic landmark and is open for Tastings. Look at those second floor barn doors and the greenery creeping up the building facade!

Though the Clinton Vineyards and Winery in beautiful Clinton Corners, NY is about forty years old, the winery is housed in an historic Dutch Barn. Oh, I am a sucker for barns.

Well, you would know that Francis Ford Coppola would choose a prize vineyard for himself. In 1881 they began construction on the french chateau style winery that still exists today at the Rubicon Estate.

If you look through the hazy mist there (doesn’t it look equally romantic and forboding?) you can see the historic Victorian home depicted on the Spottswoode label.  The estate was established in 1882 and has only been in three families since.

This is super cool: A Scottish sea captain, Hamden McIntyre, founded the Trefethen Winery, originally known as Eshcol, in 1886. “McIntyre designed it as a gravity-flow system: a horse-drawn winch brought grapes to the third floor of the three-story structure for crushing; gravity carried the juice to the second floor for fermenting; and, eventually, the wine descended to the first floor for aging.”

All images via the vineyard websites.


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