All in the Family

A renowned Virginia winery sits on generations of family history.

Photos courtesy of Glen Manor Vineyards

Glen Manor Vineyards in Front Royal bills its product as “wines with a sense of place,” but more than that, these are wines with a sense of family. 

More than a century ago, Stephen Lawson bought a mountainside farm with steep land and granite soil. It wasn’t suited to wheat and corn, but the family grew them anyway, as well as raising beef and dairy cattle and planting hundreds of fruit trees. Lawson’s great-grandson, Jeff White, now tends Glen Manor Vineyards’ grapevines and makes award-winning wine on the same land.

White grew up visiting the family farm, where his mother Anna Rae grew up, on weekends and holidays. In the early 1990s, his father, Alpheus, suggested planting wine grapes, which are well suited to the sloping land. White studied under Tony Wolf at the experimental vineyards of the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Winchester and worked the harvest under Jim Law at Linden Vineyards before planting his first vines—two acres of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay—in 1995. “I loved the hand work in raising grapes,” says White.

By design, the atmosphere at Glen Manor Vineyards is intimate; the winery limits group sizes and does not host events. “We are focused on what we do and why we do it,” says White. His wife Kelly, a retired chef, both pours in the tasting room and bakes focaccia bread for a palate cleanser. 

Among Glen Manor’s signature wines are Hodder Hill, a “big, ageable, tannic” cabernet sauvignon-prominent red blend named for White’s grandfather, who allowed him to plant vines in his cow pasture, along with sauvignon blanc made from 24-year-old vines—the first vineyard planting—and Raepheus, a petit manseng dessert wine and a portmanteau of White’s parents’ names. 

Alpheus still performs bookkeeping for the vineyard, and White’s two brothers are partners in the business. But the next generation is already beginning to tend this family’s storied land as White’s niece, Ashleigh Rae White, joins in on the harvest. GlenManorVineyards.com


This article originally appeared in our October 2019 issue.

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