I don’t know what it is about southern Virginia that attracts self-made winemakers who set up shop on practically their front yard. Maybe retirement just isn’t for some people. Or maybe the passion for wine just runs that strong. But whatever the reason, the wine bug definitely hit the owners of Spinning Jenny.
Jenny planted its vineyard in 2015 and opened to the public in early 2019. After some helpful suggestions from their neighbors at Iron Heart and Giles wineries, owners Curtis and Jenny decided to plant an acre of grapes – some hybrids but also Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, even some Cab Sauv. Well, if you’re going to own a winery, you may as well pant things you like, because you’re going to be your own #1 customer!
On the face of it neither of them had winemaking experience prior to this venture. That said they did have something going for them – Jennifer is an infection control nurse. You’d think these fields are totally different, but I’d disagree. Maintaining a vineyard in Virginia is all about disease control. What ails the grapes? When to spray? What to spray? I suspect Jennifer came to this field better prepared than she thought.
The tasting room is on the edge of their property, right off of I-81. It’s not a big place but doesn’t need to be. Some visitors are simply looking for a way stop, others are locals looking for a get-away.
The wines were almost universally soft and light, especially the whites. I especially liked the 2018 Chardonnay; nice mouthfeel, made in a Chablis style. But the 2018 Viognier was good too, especially considering what a wet year it was.
If you’re a red drinker, have no fear – they also have a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon/Chambourcin blend (80%/20%) which is probably best served chilled. Since Jenny is low on their own reds they are supplemented by bottles from Iron Heart. I especially like Iron Heart’s Cabernet Franc, which I purchased a bottle of when I visited them last year (it ended up with mom).
Fun facts – a “Spinning Jenny” is a fencing tool used to spool out wire. They are also in the running for smallest winery in Virginia, with a production of under 100 cases. While the production may grow, I really hope it never loses its homey vibe.