It’s been thirteen years since musician Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band purchased historic Virginia Blenheim farm — “historic” because it was claimed in 1730 by Secretary of the Virginia Colony John Carter who had a grant for 9,350 acres of land in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Carter maintained the mill at Blenheim and his son Colonel Edward Carter built its first house. British Commander Major General William Philips resided at Blenheim while a prisoner during the Revolutionary War. And both Thomas Jefferson and Martha Jefferson were frequent guests.
While the original house eventually burned down by the mid-nineteenth century, the Matthews family purchased the farm in 1999 to preserve Blenheim’s historical significance and to eventually plant new grape vines on the remnants of an old vineyard on the property.
Blenheim now has 10 acres (4.0 ha) under vine. Varieties include Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. Currently the winery produces 5,500 cases (500 hL).
Blenheim does not use commercial grade pesticides on its crop, instead relying on weeds and natural vegetation to protect its fruit.
The vineyard also uses a custom-built system that uses gravity rather than hydraulic pumping to send the grapes and the juice to vats, and relies on neutral, straightforward yeast strains.
The vineyard is open seven days a week for tastings. No appointment necessary.