Annefield Vineyards is a boutique winegrower near the village of Saxe in Southern Virginia, a place of unparalleled beauty with a rich history.
The estate vineyards are in the Staunton River watershed on the southern edge of the Virginia Piedmont—a region appreciated for its moderate climate, long growing season and deep, fertile soils. Our objective is to produce wine that is expressive of our unique geology, site and climate—those special characteristics that are embodied in the French word terroir—"a sense of place."
STEPHEN M. BALLARD AND MICHAEL T. LEARY purchased Annefield in June, 2005. Since then they have completely renovated the house and grounds, and planted the first three-acre vineyard.
Our Founders, Stephen Ballard and Michael Leary.
Like many people in viticulture, they came to it first with a love of wine. They have learned the business from the soil up, and have been hands-on with every aspect of winegrowing, from understanding soil composition, vine and rootstock selection, pruning, trellis building, and choosing equipment. They are responsible for the year-round cultivation and care of the vines and of the farm.
Stephen M. Ballard provides the company strategic business and financial planning guidance, and day-to-day management of the vineyard and winery. Since establishing Annefield Vineyards in November 2005, Mr Ballard is an attorney with Heritage Title & Escrow Company in Washington, DC. His expertise includes zoning, planning, land use, historic preservation, and landlord and tenant law. Mr Ballard has studied all aspects of viticulture and winemaking since 2005, and manages the vineyards at Annefield following biodynamic principles. In 2009 he was elected a director and vice president of the Southern Virginia Wine Trail Association.
Michael T. Leary will be responsible for day-to-day tasting room operations and systems management and integration. He has spent the bulk of his career working in all aspects of customer service for a number of companies, and is now responsible for the development and integration of customer service computer systems for Sirius XM Satellite Radio in Washington, DC. He is also a long-time student of viticulture and winemaking, and directs the wine program at Annefield.
MUCH OF THE ROCK AND SOIL AT Annefield derives from weathering of the Precambrian rocks that underlie much of the county. Rocks formed during the Precambrian era are between 4.5 billion and 560 million years old. Eons of weathering of these Precambrian rocks have given rise to the Wissahickon schist and gneiss formations, which merge with rocks composed of volcanic material in the area. These complex formations underlie the Georgeville and Herndon loam soil series that is well represented at the farm.
Although the farm's soil appears consistent on the surface, there are actually four different classifications of soil on the property:
Georgeville – The Georgeville series consists of deep, well drained soils that have a red clayey layer in the subsoil. These soils are undulating to hilly and are on uplands. They formed in material weathered from metamorphosed sedimentary rock. These soils are strongly acid or very strongly acid subsoil and are low in natural fertility.
Herndon – The Herndon series consists of deep, well drained undulating and rolling soils on uplands. These soils formed in the weathered products of metamorphosed sedimentary and volcanic rocks. These soils have a strongly acid to very strongly acid subsoil and are low in natural fertility.
Orange – The Orange series consists of deep, somewhat poorly drained to moderately well drained soils that have a very plastic, clayey layer in the subsoil. These soils are undulating to rolling and are on uplands. They formed in material weathered from greenstone, slate and other fine-grained basic rocks. These soils have a medium acid to neutral subsoil and are low to medium in natural fertility.
Appling – The Appling series consists of deep, well drained soils that have a clayey layer in the subsoil. These are undulating to hilly soils on uplands. They formed in the weathered products of acid igneous and metamorphic rocks. Appling soils have a strongly acid to very strongly acid subsoil and are low in natural fertility.