Desert Rose Winery Blooms

By Posted on Mar 10 2011 | By

High Desert Country and a Glass of Wine Comes to Western Fauquier County

Bob and Linda Claymier travelled the world during his career with the Federal Service.  Yet, they always felt an urge to return to their roots in eastern Oregon’s high desert country.  What they didn’t count on was falling in love with Fauquier County.

The solution?  Create the horse ranch of their dreams in Virginia when they retired.  But retirement did not mean slowing down.  Within a few years of purchasing eighty acres off Hume Road and stocking it with purebred Arabian horses, Claymier had become a nationally known horse trainer.  He collaborated extensively with the renowned “Horse Whisperer” Frank Bell, and produced his own horse training DVD.

So how did wine enter the picture?  “My family made wine when I was a kid.  It was mostly fruit wines.  But I enjoyed the hobby and wherever I was stationed I made grape wine for my family and friends.  When we moved to Fauquier and saw what was happening in the wine industry, we thought we could take the hobby to the next level,” he says.

Bob & Linda Claymier

Today, the Claymiers have created one of the more unique wineries in Virginia.  Horses are an integral part of the atmosphere with a small corral at the front of the property and a ranch pond just below the wrap-around deck. Could that be a cowboy saddling up an Arabian in a nearby pasture?  Most likely it’s Claymier getting ready to exercise one of his prized horses.

As you enter the winery itself, you are transported out west with earth tone colors, a stone fireplace and the de rigueur caribou horn rack hanging above the fireplace.  A large tasting bar—with a counter top displaying an impressive collection of international coin and paper currency collected during Claymier’s career—is the focal point of the spacious ranch-like tasting room.

“I want a down-home atmosphere here. This is not so much a business as an extension of my home.  Linda and I love entertaining and guests at the winery will be treated like family.  We have a “Kiddies Korner” and family dogs will be welcomed,” he emphasizes.

Fred Furtado, a long time friend and colleague recalls, “I’ve known Bob for over thirty years.  He embodies the ‘rolling stone gathers no moss’ philosophy. His energy level is amazing.  Folks are going to be impressed with what he has created at Desert Rose.”

John Delmare, owner of nearby Rappahannock Cellars, echoes the sentiments, saying, “Bob and Linda are good friends.  We couldn’t be happier to see them realizing their hard earned dream.  His winery will be good for the industry and good for us.  A rising tide does float all boats and we’re excited to be recommending a new local winery to our guests. Especially one that’s making very good wines.”

Very good indeed.  Opening day will see six wines on the tasting sheet. Two whites, one rosé, two reds and a dessert wine.  Some of the wines will be whimsically named, such as “Ole Moo Moo”, an off-dry blend of Seyval Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Vidal Blanc, and named in honor of a beloved cow who endured numerous hardships.  One of the reds is called R.E.D.—Retired & Extremely Dangerous—in reference to the thrill the Claymiers experienced during their first months of retirement.  And the dessert wine is labeled “Starboard”.  If it’s not Port, then it must be Starboard, hey?

The Claymiers are committed to being good stewards of both the land and their local community.  “We will not be an event-focused winery.  We will not host tour buses and there will be no outside amplified music.  A visit to Desert Rose will be like calling on friends and neighbors.  We’re going to build our business one customer at a time.  Our goal is to have each guest planning their next visit as they leave the ranch,” Bob explains.

So head ‘em up and move’ em out to the Desert Rose Winery.  It’s not often you can travel out west and never leave Fauquier County.


Desert Rose Winery is located at 13726 Hume Road in Hume, VA.  The tasting room is opened Friday through Sunday and all Monday holidays from 1pm to 6pm. 540.635.3200.

Desert Rose Winery

Published in the March 9, 2011 edition of the Fauquier-Times Democrat.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES