In the 1800’s, the land of WillowCroft Winery was planted as fruit orchards. Early Virginian farmers recognized the optimal growing landscape of the Catoctin Ridge along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where elevations of 600 to 750 feet protect from lingering frosts of late Spring and give cool nighttime relief from hot Summer days. Lew Parker, named 2002’s “Virginia Wine Industry Person of the Year” and awarded the 2013 “Gordon Murchie Lifetime Achievement” award, planted the first grapes at WillowCroft Farm in 1981 and founded WillowCroft Winery there in 1983. Today WillowCroft produces approximately 3,000 cases annually from twelve varieties; Chardonnay, Riesling, Albarino, Traminette, Vidal are the whites and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and hybrid French American Chambourcin are the reds.
Lew Parker’s invaluable experience and knowledge is the bedrock of WillowCroft’s grape growing techniques: keeping the footprint light on the land, leaf removal from the fruit zone at just the right pace and time and staying on top of the most recent viticulture research. WillowCroft’s 12.5 acres (5 sites) are dry farmed (no irrigation). While this can be tough on young vines, dry farming forces older vines to stretch low within the silty loam soils. Under Lew Parker’s gentle hand, WillowCroft’s vines produce some of the best aromatic, crisp whites and vibrantly fruity reds Virginia has to offer.