Hunting Creek Vineyards Review
Address: 2000 Addie Williams Trail Clover,Virginia 24534.
Phone Number: 434-454-9219
Tasting Hours: Mar-Dec: Wed-Sun 11:00-5:00 and by appt.
Reviewer: Brian Yost
Review Date: 10/3/2014
Reviewer: Brian Yost
When one speaks of the Southern Virginia Wine Region, it is not uncommon to hear disparaging comments about the region’s production of primarily sweet wine. I’ve heard this refrain for years, so I traveled “down south” to see if there was any truth to that claim. Hunting Creek Vineyards was among the stops on my first trip to the region.
One of the features of this area is the distance between wineries. Driving time becomes a distinct factor when traveling from one tasting room to the next. Hunting Creek is in a very rural section of Halifax County and it is at least thirty minutes on back roads to the next nearest winery. I don’t say this to discourage visits, but it’s a useful bit of information for planning your trip.
This part of the state is largely agricultural, and Hunting Creek is on land that has been devoted to farming for hundreds of years. As you drive across the property and approach the tasting room, you will note that it is in a very well-maintained log cabin. The forest encroaches on the rear of the building, but flowers and modest landscaping line the walkway to the building’s entrance. There is a line of rockers on the porch. It has an air of southern rural charm.
The rustic exterior features of the structure are in stark contrast to the modern features you’ll find inside. The stone fireplace, timber walls, and exposed timber ceiling beams remind you that this is indeed a log cabin. The furnishings, modern art, and polished-wood tasting bar are expertly arranged to lend the interior a much more contemporary feel.
Milt and Sandy McPherson are the owners of Hunting Creek and began planting grapes in 2002. They have three acres under vine, and Milt uses this fruit to produce between 800 and 1000 cases of wine per year. So this is a very small-batch, boutique operation and there are no immediate plans for growth. The emphasis is on quality, and these production levels allow all the wine to be sold from the tasting room.
Milt poured my tasting, which is a feature I love about these small wineries. It’s always nice to interact with an owner or winemaker. In this case, I was talking to both. Milt fills both roles. His early background in science and chemistry translated easily into making wine, and his wines are extraordinary and of a dry style. Rumors of sweet wine definitely do not apply here.
I tasted seven wines, which started out with a bone-dry Viognier. It displayed the typical varietal characteristics and was an excellent example of what can be done with the grape. It was the only white wine and, in any case, I really want to tell you about the reds. There were three of particular note. There is a lovely, complex Bordeaux blend and an exceptional Petit Verdot. The Merlot, however, really stole the show, and this is coming from someone who typically doesn’t drink Merlot.
Both Milt and Sandy were in the tasting room, and I was able to interact with both of them. They went out of their way to make me feel at home, entertained all of my questions and provided a lot of background on the wine and the winery. It all flowed like a pleasant conversation. I thought the whole tasting experience was first rate.
Future plans for Hunting Creek include some renovations in the winery to accommodate special tastings and potentially wine dinners. Aside from this, there will be no real public events. The emphasis will remain on the quality of the wine and that’s as it should be.
I walked away feeling like Hunting Creek was a great discovery. The quality of the wine was just over the top and the log cabin tasting room was such an inviting place to taste the offerings. I must submit that you can’t seriously explore Virginia wine without a visit to this part of the state. Furthermore, if I were going to send you to just one winery in the Southern Region, this would be the one. The wine is a serious draw and those wines can’t be found outside the tasting room. Don’t take my word for it. I urge you to check it out.