The story of Chateau MerrillAnne begins in early 2004. Kenny White, the owner of MerrillAnne, a Virginia farm, was looking for a way to produce enough income from the farm to pay for its taxes and maintenance. Seeing the huge growth in the Virginia wine industry he decided that growing grapes may be the answer. In the fall of 2004 Kenny commissioned a vineyard feasibility study. This study was completed in November of 2004. The results were very promising as 3 potential vineyard sites were identified on the property. It also included a detailed blueprint for row spacing, vine spacing, row orientation, suggested varieties, rootstocks and soil tests. This work was the foundation on which Chateau MerrillAnne was built. With this information in hand Kenny spent the next several years researching the wine industry and trying to decide if taking on the mammoth challenge of a winery was something he was capable of doing on his own.
In 2008 Kenny married Emily Roberts. With her help and support they decided to move forward with the Vineyard/Winery. In the spring of 2010, following the blueprint that the feasibility study had supplied, the first vineyard was planted at Chateau MerrillAnne. This was done with the help of many family, friends and volunteers. Without their help this could not have been done. Over the next couple of years Chambourcin, Cayuga, Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were planted. The first harvest was in 2012. There was also vineyard space leased in Loudoun County and Albermarle County. During these years Kenny and Emily took many classes offered by Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville thru their Viticulture and Enology Program. Program Manager Greg Rosco has done a great job of bringing the best of the Virginia grape and wine industry to the classroom/vineyard. These classes were invaluable.
The Winery/Tasting room project was started in the Spring of 2012. This was the renovation of an old barn that was once used to store corn and farm equipment. While a new building made more logistical sense, to be able to save and re-use an old building seemed the right thing to do. Once again, family, friends and volunteers were the backbone of the project. The tasting room opened March 1, 2014. Kenny and Emily have tried to create a winery THEY would enjoy visiting. Not one that features a theme "party of the week" and loud music, but one that is perfect for wine and conversation with friends, picnic lunches in the meadows and the enjoyment of the outdoors.
After many years of planning and hard work Chateau MerrillAnne received its Virginia Farm Winery license on August 2nd, 2013. The first wine, the 2012 Chardonnay, was released shortly afterwards. Chateau MerrillAnne was fortunate to have Kerem Baki, one of the finest Winemakers in Virginia, work with them to produce a beautifully balanced, barrel fermented Chardonnay. On March 1st, 2014 Chateau MerrillAnne opened its tasting room along with the release of 3 new wines. Virginia's renowned winemaker Michael Shaps worked with us to produce our 2013 Palace White, 2013 Vin Gris and 2012 Governor Spotswood Red. The opening was a huge success and marked the completion of our journey to being a Virginia Farm Winery. In the years since our wines have been praised by both our customers and wine professionals world wide. Our mandate is to produce the finest possible wine, sell it at a very fair price and provide our patrons with a comfortable, laid back environment to enjoy it in.
Our many and most sincere "Thanks!" to all of our Chateau MerrillAnne family. Without their support and help we could not have done it. Thanks Big Matt, Matt, Ginny, Chris, Nick, Shylow, Kristine, Kevin, Adam, Steven, Robby, Stephen, Ryan, Trish, Andrew, Evelyn, Robin, Glenn, Chuck, Courtney, Michael, Bonnie, Hilary, John, Vince, Susan, Jodi, John, J.D., Kelly, Kurt, Peanut and little Kenny. Many more family members and friends who were not able to actually work on the vineyard/winery have supported and encouraged us. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!
Nutter White RIP
Matthew "Peanut" Brady
Certified Wine Barrel Inspector
Tasting room, Harvesting, Festivals
Lead Door Greeter
Emily White, Owner
Tasting Room, Accounting
Kenny White, Owner
Fatty Anne White RIP
Tasting room, Harvesting, Festivals
We have a LONG, LONG list of family and friends (they are all family to us) that help us on a regular basis. We are thankful for their help and friendship. We could not do what we do without them.
Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Harvesting, Festivals
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