Archive for October, 2013


Old House Vineyards aging well

Posted on Oct 07 2013 | By

Winery attractions keep mounting after decade in business  

What do you call two Type A personalities? Pat and Allyson Kearney.IMG_8166

The owners of the first and closest winery to Culpeper are a perpetual motion machine. Consider what they’ve achieved in ten years:

  • Purchased a seventy-five acre abandoned alfalfa farm and fully restored a 1800’s era farmhouse into a tasting room. 
  • Planted twenty-one acres of wine grapes around a bucolic lake. 
  • Built a 4,000 square foot lakeside pavilion. 
  • Built a personal residence on a small rise overlooking the vineyards. 
  • Installed a 40-person lakeside flagstone patio with fireplace. 
  • Ramped up production to over 33,000 bottles of wine annually. 

But wait, there’s more. Another flagstone patio has just been completed behind the farm house with a covered tasting bar featuring a built-in waterfall and a brick pizza oven. “I’ve waited ten years for my patio and Pat did a wonderful job with the assistance of local landscaper Dave Marciniak, owner of Revolutionary Gardens.

Allyson Kearney

Allyson Kearney

“On October 6, we officially start serving brick oven pizza when guest Chef Luigi from Luigi’s Italian Restaurant fires up our new oven,” says Allyson Kearney.

Pizza Oven

Pizza Oven

The patio will see duty deep into the fall because heaters will keep wine lovers cozy when the chilly air arrives. Wine, pizza and a comfy patio will likely see weekend visitorship increase above the 300 tasters typically hosted on busy weekends.

All of this activity has been achieved while Pat Kearney operated Kearney & Associates on the property. His firm specializes in creating display cases, artifact mounts and dioramas for museums nationwide.

So how do they top their achievements to date?

Grapes into Grappa
Tapping into the resurgence in hand-crafted liquors, Pat Kearney will open his own on-site distillery next June. Using fruit from his vineyard he will produce brandy, vodka, gin, grappa and French-style liquors. “Everyone is excited about the distillery. I hope they don’t forget about me and the tasting room after it opens,” says Allyson Kearney.

Fat chance. The winery-distillery complex will offer myriad social lubricants appealing to an even wider audience.

“We are just an adult Disneyland out here,” says Allyson Kearney laughing. And the owners are having as much fun as their guests. The proof? The last three months of this year have been the busiest since Old House Vineyards opened in June 2003. With each new amenity, word spreads and business grows.

Love Locks

Love Locks

One example is the twenty weddings they host annually. The lakeside pavilion and patio is a perfect location for a bride and groom seeking a romantic spot to exchange vows. The actual nuptials are performed on an island located in the middle of the lake. Details are everything in the wedding business and one small feature is the “love lock” gifted to each bride and groom.

“We present an engraved lock to each couple and they permanently lock it to a chain on the lakeside pier and throw the key into the water as a symbol of their commitment. Ed’s Awards in Culpeper engraves the locks.

“The love locks have become very popular and we invite any couple who wants to bring a lock and toss a key to do so. There’s no charge. There are so many locks on that chain now,” says Allyson Kearney.

When asked how she would describe the dream setting she and her husband have created Allyson Kearney says, “It’s a little piece of heaven right here in Culpeper.” 

For information on hours of operation and special events visit 



Old House Vineyards 

Wicked Bottom Chambourcin IMG_8196


In the yesteryears, a field located near the winery was notorious for its horse racing, cock fighting and gambling, earning the moniker “Wicked Bottom”. Today, it’s the name of one of the winery’s most popular red wines. Made from Chambourcin, a French-American hybrid grape, the wine casts a deep garnet hue in the glass and displays rich, fruit-forward cherry and smokey notes on the palate with a soft, lingering finish. Drink now and till 2017.

Virginia and other fine wines are available in Culpeper at the Crofburn Market, Culpeper Cheese Company, Tyme in Culpeper, and Vinosity. 


Published in the October 3, 2013 edition of the Culpeper Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES