Article courtesy Country Zest & Style - Fall 2019 inaugural edition
At the ripe old age of nine, Yianni (John) Zissios began learning the age old art of wine making during visits to his grandfather in Greece, the land of his forefathers. Today, decades later, John, his wife Helen and their son, Stergio, preside over the impressive family owned and operated Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery, among the bucolic hills of Delaplane in Fauquier County, Virginia.
Twenty three years ago, the family stumbled upon a large and beautiful tract of land, once home to the great former Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, falling in love with its similarities to their Greek homeland. They negotiated the purchase of some 63 acres with the intention of it becoming their home, however as time passed, Stergio convinced his parents that this would be the perfect location for a wonderful vineyard and, ultimately, a winery and tasting room.
Today, four years after its grand opening in April 2015, Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery is a serious player in the Virginia wine producing industry. They bottle 10,000 cases a year for customer consumption at the tasting room, purchase by wine club members, enjoyment during the many on site private occasions and distribution to half a dozen states and counting.
The 63 acres has since blossomed to 100, of which 18 are now under vine. Varietals include Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay whites plus Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin reds. Blue Valley now also produces a Rosé with a sparkling Blanc de Blancs in the works.
The 27,000 square foot winery/tasting room was designed and built by the family, and welcomes visitors throughout the week, year round as well as playing host to some 20 weddings a year and numerous special corporate occasions. Below ground is an imposing high ceilinged winery building, dug underground to ensure temperature consistency which houses 32 stainless steel tanks custom made in South Africa, 280 French oak barrels and an extensive array of equipment required in order to turn grapes into wine.
During my visit to Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery, I met with Stergio Zissios, and learned how family means everything here. And family extends to the employees and customers, where a primary philosophy is to treat everyone as if they are indeed family. Stergio explained that many regulars become members of one of their two wine clubs - the Cave Club which requires a commitment to purchase one case of wine per year, and the BV Wine Club, where customers collect three bottles every quarter. In each scenario, the winemaker selects.
Distribution has become a major part of the business, with wine outlets such as Total Wine & More as well as restaurants selling significant quantities around the country.
I asked Stergio about their recent collaboration with the Great Meadow Twilight Polo season. “This is an excellent way for us to promote our brand locally to a clientele which enjoys leisure activities in Fauquier County.” And that is certainly happening as more and more county residents and wine connoisseurs from further afield learn about Fauquier County’s largest vineyard/winery.
Stop off and enjoy a warm welcome and some delightful wine at Blue Valley Vineyard & Winery next time you’re in the area; you won’t be disappointed.
By Peter Leonard-Morgan
Blue Valley Vineyard and Winery
5535 Blue Valley Way,
Delaplane, VA 20144
Hunt Country SIR
We are Hunt Country Sotheby’s International Realty, a Northern Virginia based residential real estate broker located in the historic capital of Loudoun County, Leesburg