Over the past year I’d slowed my roll when it came to visiting new places. Between trying to reduce my (overly abundant) wine inventory and revisiting old favorites, exploring took a back seat.
Fortunately, 2023 kicked off with a bunch of new wineries opening in easy driving distance, plus others opened in 2022 that I hadn’t spent much time at. Despite having a rainy Friday, I took the opportunity to get out and try two of them; Good Luck Farm and the new October One Tasting Room in Leesburg.
First off was Good Spirit Farm, named after the English transition of the owner’s name – Gutermuth.
Located in the town of Round Hill (not far from Bluemont and Purcellville), the winery looks like the bottom point of a triangle-shaped mini wine trail consisting of Otium and Bluemont Vineyards, with Bogadi Winery and Monk’s BBQ thrown into the mix for good measure. Any wine trail that puts me within 10 minutes of good BBQ earns bonus points, so a visit was an easy sell.
This region feels like a blend of modern residential areas and old-time Virginia farm country. If you take Snickersville Pike you’ll pass a mixture of old farm manor homes and cow pastures, with the occasional small home, general store, and Airbnb thrown in for good measure. Eventually the sign for Good Spirit Farm popped up and there I was.
It’s a shame the day was so overcast because my photos don’t do the place justice. The farm was (until a few years ago) a private home sitting on 42 acres. The owners repurposed main building into a tasting room and the hills in their backyard became the vineyard. White dotted posts marking baby vines dot the backyard. There’s an Airbnb coming as well.
Co-owner Mike Gutermuth was behind the bar when I came in; his wife Luanne soon joined us. Their ‘how I started a winery’ story rhymes with what you hear from many owners; both started off by visiting Virginia wineries and telling themselves ‘We can do this too’. As they got closer to retirement, those discussions became more serious until they took the plunge.
Of course, owning a winery is likely a busier line of work than their last gigs. Mike even explained “I don’t think I ever worked so hard!”.
The Gutermuths looked at several wineries currently on the market but ultimately decided to start from scratch and found this location in 2020. Most of the 7.5-acre vineyard was planted in 2021, so it will be a while before they have their own estate wine. The vineyard has many of the usual suspects from Bordeaux, but also includes some Albariño and Pinot Blanc.
Since Good Spirit Farm is just getting started they’re serving a combination of wines from both Virginia and around the world. All of them emulate styles the Gutermuths plan on producing from their (still baby) vineyard. Red and white flights are available. They also advertised some light bites including burrata and charcuterie plates.
Of the Virginia wines available, my favorite was the 2020 Petit Verdot, which was made at Veritas. The other Virginia bottles include a red blend, rosé and Chardonnay. Not surprisingly, I also liked their Galician Albariño.
I was really happy to hear Nate Walsh will make their wine in the future; his custom crush business has been killing it. I had a glass of the PV while enjoying the view outside; I loved the expansive set of windows with a view of the vineyard. Then, off to my next stop – October One.
October One Tasting Room
The namesake October One Vineyard (O1V) is located in Bluemont, but the business of selling wine for years was conducted at both the Leesburg and Cascades Farmers Markets. In good weather and bad, Bob and Loree Rupy grew their business at these venues until they were ready to take the next step of moving into a brick-and-mortar location.
For a small business their wine got a lot of recognition early on. Their 2018 Viognier won the Loudoun Wine Award’s Grand Chairman Award in 2019, and their 2020 Viognier won the prize again in 2021. Nate Walsh is also their winemaker.
That ‘next step’ occurred in August 2022 when they opened a tasting room in Leesburg near the corner of Loudoun and King Street (they still keep up with the markets, though). Their new location is conveniently located right across the street from a parking garage, plus its walking distance of several great restaurants.
O1V doesn’t just sell O1V wine. If anything, it’s probably the most Virginia-centric wine store in Virginia right now. You can find a rotating selection of other Virginia producers from around the state including NOVA, Charlottesville, and the Shenandoah Valley.
They offer both glasses and comparative flights, consisting of an O1V wine and friends. The tasting room even had a Chardonnay from Ankida Ridge, a glass of which I enjoyed while waiting for the event to set up.
Most of their production focused on Bordeaux grapes, but they also have estate Viognier and Albariño. While the former has been killing it at the local wine awards, the latter is probably my favorite. So when they announced a special Albariño and oyster event, it was an easy sell for me.
Oysters and Albariño are a famously great pairing. This grape has a natural saline and minerality quality to it that pairs well with seafood. Bob explained they got the idea from a neighbor at one of his farmer’s markets, and they’d frequently join forces because who could resist either when served side-by side?
This time the event included a trio of Virginia Albariños; their own, plus Cana and Chrysalis. Their event from a few months ago included Maggie Malcik and Boden Young as their ‘guest’ wines. The oysters themselves came from a spot off the Eastern Shore.
Of the three options, my favorite was the house 2021 O1V. But I have to say, the tiny sample I had of the 2022 Albariño was my favorite of the day; it was just very fresh and full bodied.
Anybody else visit these places? Let me know what you thought!
I have not tried these but will definitely try if I head to Virginia… someday! 🙂