John and Jean Hagarty live in Culpeper County Virginia in the heart of the beautiful Piedmont region, close by the nationally known Shenandoah National Park.

John retired from the United States Postal Service in 2001 as Manager, Government Relations. Shortly thereafter, he began in earnest his love affair with all things wine. His wife Jean retired from Giant Food in 2003 and assists John with his winemaking and professional work for Rappahannock Cellars winery, located in Huntly.

These wine “lovers” have four married children and 12 grandchildren.

John’s winemaking adventures started with a single wine kit in 2002 that produced 30 bottles of wine. Today, this modest beginning has grown into an annual production of 40 cases. He is fortunate to be able to purchase quality fruit from a number of well-known wineries in the state and emphasizes the importance of this strategy by saying, “You don’t make good wine, you grow it.  The quality of the fruit is paramount.”

After learning the basics of wine production while working at a Middleburg winery as a “cellar rat”, John joined the staff of Rappahannock Cellars in Huntly. He has been with the winery for 15 years and handles all of its outside events. This work includes hosting wine dinners for upscale restaurants and B&Bs, shop tastings, festivals, and in-home parties.

He welcomes any inquiries about these activities and assures clients that a fun and educational experience is the hallmark of all his events.

John is also Chairman of the South Wales Wine Society, an organization he founded seven years ago. The group of approximately 25 neighbors meets several times a year to taste and discuss wines from around the world.

John writes for several Virginia publications including the Fauquier Times and Dine Wine and Stein magazine. His writing focuses on all elements of wine and winemaking and has expanded to include profiles on people and businesses in the Old Dominion.  All of his articles appear on this website.

John’s other interests are homebrewing, golf, backpacking and hiking. He volunteered with the Hospice of the Rapidan for over a decade and named the 2008 Volunteer of the Year.

He and Jean are also Adopt-A-Highway volunteers, assigned to two sections of highway cleanup covering a total of five miles. He maintains a section of a hiking trail in the Shenandoah National Park under the auspices of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

With respect to their highway cleanup activity, John reminiscences that over 30 years ago he attended a conference where, The Happy Warrior, Senator Hubert Humphrey from Minnesota, was speaking.

John remembers, “I suspect it was one of his standard stump speeches. But, it was a forceful declaration of how each citizen can make a difference in the quality of life in America. One line in the speech spoke about starting small, such as picking up a piece of trash beyond the confines of your own property.  That thought resonated with me, and I have tried to employ this philosophy in my life. Small actions can, indeed, lead to meaningful change.”

John welcomes your questions or comments about any aspect of his web site. You can reach him at jfhagarty at aol.com