Some may not think apples and wine grapes mix but as Virginia’s wine lands continue to grow, more and more vineyards are being established on former apple orchards. Barren Ridge Vineyards is one such property.
John and Shelby Higgs converted their old apple barn into a state-of-the-art winery, preserving the original structure and wood beams. The tasting room features wonderful wines that are available daily for complimentary tours and tastings.
The Higgs arrival in Augusta County was not a direct route and included European postings that helped form the desire to return to the Shenandoah Valley and plant a Vineyard.
While on assignment for corporate giant Phillip Morris, Switzerland exposed John to European wines and the centuries-old traditions of grape growing and winemaking. Recognizing the similarity in terrain, John thought a vineyard could save his family’s long neglected orchard.
In 2007 the Higgs gathered dozens of friends to plant over an acre of European vinifera vines on the sloping hills of the family farm. He first purchased fruit fron neighboring Virginia vineyards for his inaugural vintage.
As his own fruit started to come in it was clear he had found an ideal spot for growing Vitis Vinfera, each successive vintage has increased in complexity and character. Barren Ridge’s future is very bright indeed.