Our Land

Wessex Hundred, home to The Williamsburg Winery, is an agricultural setting where there is a diverse use of the land. Of the 320 acres, 275 acres are dedicated to the Williamsburg Conservancy, whereby the identified parcels will remain undeveloped, precluding commercial development of the land in perpetuity.



The photo above looks southeast to the James River. You will note a densely forested area abutting the water.  in 1988, Patrick Duffeler, in concert with the Virginia Forestry Service, reforested the land with over 50,000 lob lolly pines to replace the wood used in the construction of the winery.  By no small coincidence, the small forest bears a resemblance to the European forests Patrick roamed as a child.


In 2008, a 2-acre parcel of land was dedicated to the creation of a sustainable produce garden that has now become a vital source of produce for both our Gabriel Archer Tavern and Cafe Provencal. Again, in the photo above, the garden is located just south of the winery, heading towards the river.



Our Vineyard



With the planting of 15 acres of vines adjacent to Conservancy Road in 2010, our vineyard now approaches 50 acres of cultivated land. The 2010 planting also included a 1/2 acre parcel where we are conducting a test of Malbec grapes to assess their suitability in the Virginia climate and soil. We expect early fruit from these vines in 2013, and those grapes will be used for testing to assess the viability of the varietal.  It is expected that our first full harvest will occur in 2013 from the recently planted section of the vineyard.


One would think that not much occurs in the vineyard during the months of January and February, but in actuality, these are very busy times for our vineyard crew. At this time, we are aggressively pruning leaves to ensure the best possible exposure of the fruit during the growing season. We begin with rough pruning in January, and then return with more detailed pruning in February.  The quality and precision of the work being done in these months has an enormous bearing on the quality of the fruit that we harvest in the fall. 


Williamsburg endured its second largest snowfall in modern recorded climatological history this past December 2010. Coupled with the unseasonably cold weather in the region, one might think that it would be detrimental to our vines. However, the cold weather and snow are quite beneficial to our plants, as it will kill any insects that have burrowed deeper into the soil seeking warmth.  The weather has no adverse affects on the vineyards except for a late frost which could cause severe damage to the young buds.


If you haven't recently visited the winery, plan on making a trip once the vines are in bloom. Tom Child is recognized as one of the most skilled viticulturists in the industry, and evidence of his stewardship and artistry is in full view with our vineyard. It is quite a sight.