The Top Dog of Wineries

Barrel Oak Winery
Delaplane, Virginia

When Sharon and Brian Roeder opened Barrel Oak Winery in the spring of 2008, they realized a dream that began long before they knew each other. Sharon had dreamed of strolling through vineyards with her morning cup of coffee, and Brian had dreamed of owning a winery. When they discovered this, they started to plan.

They consulted with other winemakers and then Brian built a winery that they intend to grow into. The winery is completely hand-constructed and built green with underground production facilities. A geo-exchange loop, buried deep beneath the soil surface, provides geothermal heating, cooling, and hot water at a fraction of the traditional cost. Also, by building the winery into the side of a hill, less energy is required to heat and cool it. Low energy lighting and engineered insulating panels are other green efforts that prove the Roeders are serious about a sustainable future.

But the Roeders are not too serious. Although it has been open for just a year, Barrel Oak Winery is already earning the reputation for being a fun destination. The charming tasting room often hosts musicians and charitable events. It leads to a stone patio where guests can settle back and enjoy breathtaking views of Little Cobbler Mountain and the Blue Ridge Range, and is staffed with fun people who love wine, people-and dogs. In fact, Barrel Oak Winery's name was chosen in part for its initials (BOW as in "bow wow"!) and the Roeders' two golden retrievers, Justice and Barley, are as welcoming as their owners. Barrel staves provide leash hooks around the tasting bar, and there is always a supply of dog biscuits on hand to keep canine guests occupied while their humans taste the distinctive wines and often take an impromptu tour with Brian and Sharon.

Barrel Oak's estate-grown varieties include Traminette, Seyval Blanc, Merlot, Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc, Petit Verdot, and Petit Manseng. It also sources Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc from nearby vineyards. Judging by the quality of these wines, it's a good thing the Roeders have planned for their business to grow.

What to Buy:
BOWHaus White Apricot , peach; Vidal and Sauvignon Blanc $22
07 Cabernet Franc Bold, lush, cherry, with herbal-mocha hints $28
07 Chocolate Lab Very dark, rich Chambourcin, infused with cocoa nibs $28

Contact:
703.798.8308; Fax: 540.364.6402
www.barreloak.com
3623 Grove Ln.
Delaplane, VA 20144
Tasting Room Open Wed-Mon 11-6

Getting There:
From I-66W, take Exit 27 (VA-55). Turn right on Free State Rd. Go 100 yards to dead-end and turn left onto Grove Lane /F185. Go three miles. After Asheville Rd. turn right at winery entrance.

This story originally appeared on Touring and Tasting